Hazel's Reviews > Go Tell It on the Mountain

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
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Mar 02, 10

bookshelves: literary-fiction
Read in March, 2010

Rereading for the LFPC group. Last read this ages ago, perhaps in my teens or early twenties. I had completely forgotten what a powerful piece of writing this is. I think I was too young to truly appreciate it.

Today I am struck by the rhythms of Baldwin's prose, the harrowing picture he paints of the individual psyche, the family dynamic and the society, all twisted by racism. I recognise the place of theology for a people making sense of the world as they find it, and of particular religious practices in allowing them some catharsis. And of course, I recognise that those who are without power in the wider society will find ways to exert power in their personal relationships. There's no black and white here, even the most villainous is not demonised. Instead everybody is lost.

Although so much of the story is ugly and painful (It puts me in mind of Morrison's The Bluest Eye), it is described with moving, melodious language and a structure that sweeps us along. At the end of the book, which is really the beginning of John's story, I feel rung out and exhausted, fearful for him as he looks ahead.

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Reading Progress

03/01/2010 page 148
57.81%
03/02/2010 page 272
100% "The introductory essay, by O'Hagan is also excellent."

Comments (showing 1-3)




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message 3: by Jesse (new)

Jesse I think you really hit the nail on the head here, particularly with: "There's no black and white here, even the most villainous is not demonised. Instead everybody is lost." I haven't read this one, but that's more or less exactly my thoughts on Another Country. Baldwin is a writer I want to read so much more of, but each novel seems such an experience that I'm not quite ready to take up another quite yet...


Hazel Jesse wrote: "I think you really hit the nail on the head here, particularly with: "There's no black and white here, even the most villainous is not demonised. Instead everybody is lost." I haven't read this on...Baldwin is a writer I want to read so much more of, but each novel seems such an experience that I'm not quite ready to take up another quite yet... "

That's just how it feels, Jesse. I'm only now beginning to realise why people call Baldwin a genius. I suspect it'll take me some time to absorb this book.


message 1: by Jan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan Baldwin's one of my all-time favorite writers. So glad you appreciate him too, Hazel.


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