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Another Country

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  12,205 ratings  ·  1,115 reviews
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, among other locales, Another Country is a novel of passions--sexual, racial, political, artistic--that is stunning for its emotional intensity and haunting sensuality, depicting men and women, blacks and whites, stripped of their masks of gender and
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 448 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by Penguin Classics (first published 1962)
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4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,205 ratings  ·  1,115 reviews

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Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013
All for the first time, in the days when acts had no consequences and nothing was irrevocable, and love was simple and even pain had the dignity of enduring forever. It was unimaginable that time could do anything to diminish it.

But it was only love which could accomplish the miracle of making a life bearable – only love, and love itself mostly failed.

This is not a love story.

It was fitting that I read Another Country while camped out under the air conditioner or sweltering in the park or seeki
"Ne m'oublie pas," he whispered. "You are all I have in this world."

Don't forget me. From Paris to Greenwich Village and Harlem, love traverses boundaries, inflames souls, manipulates the vulnerable, and burns each person who comes near its flames. Turbulent love is what Baldwin transcribes, the kind of love that is ignited by passion until it knows no name, has no form, except for the triangle it forms among friends. By now, my close GoodReads friends know about my reading love affair with Bald
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
It took 15 years for Baldwin to complete this novel. He travelled all across from Paris to Turkey in poor health, depressed, and feeling that he had lost sight of his aims as a writer. On the brink of suicide, this novel had almost killed him. And while reading this you can sense Baldwin's sense of despair, torment and rage.

This would not be a Baldwin novel if he did not deal with social issues such as race, class, and same sex relationships. Baldwin has a way of eloquently showing people's ugly
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It’s the late fifties in New York and Another Country begins following the ineffaceable Rufus Scott. He’s a jazz musician whose luck seems to have run out. From there the story of Another Country unfolds in three parts to uncover artists on their journey to survive life among racial unrest, misguided friendships, vacillating sexuality, societal pressures, and all while discovering a myriad of unlikable, flawed characters.

Another Country is a slow burn of a story that will suck you in and keep yo
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't even know where to begin with Another Country.....

This book showed me myself in ways I had never imagined a book could....I mean talk about intense, raw, truth, hurt, love, booze, swinging, and every other action that connects all human beings...

I am 21 years old, and to think that December 10th if this year will mark the 50th Anniversary of this book is mind-blowing to me.

I first have to start with Rufus Scott....I have never had a character in fiction who was complex, and damaged that
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, overdrive
I am appalled that it took me so long to read Baldwin, but I am gradually correcting my outrageous neglect of this important author. He was a tremendously skillful writer. This character-driven book is about a group of authors, musicians, actors and a few others who come together in New York City. They are male, female, black, white, heterosexual and bisexual. They love, hurt, attract, challenge and repel each other in various combinations. They also struggle with issues surrounding their career ...more
Wow. Just... wow. Kind of weird—my reaction is not declare Another Country a new favorite, I just didn't love it in that way. And yet, and yet, it penetrated deeply, perhaps more deeply than some books I do consider my favorite...

Perhaps this has to do with how perplexing Baldwin is as an author—it takes a while, almost too much effort to get into the story, and then suddenly, unexpectedly you're in an ever-tightening vice, not sure how the hell Baldwin got you there before you even managed to n
Barry Pierce
Such an excellent novel. This is Baldwin's Ulysses. A cast of genius and memorable characters, impeccable prose, and such relentless realism makes this the brilliant novel that it is. Baldwin has outdone himself by writing this novel. Just flawless.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Near the start of this book, I was reminded of Baldwin’s previous novel, Giovanni's Room. But it quickly becomes Giovanni’s Room-‘exploded’, for this is not just the story of fraught tension between a homosexual man and a possibly bisexual man; but also the story of other couples, and coupling: a white woman who has escaped the South and a black man; a white man and a black woman; and, the one that seemed the most forced to me, an ‘older’ married woman and a homosexual (bisexual?) man, anothe
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Josh by: Mary
Shelves: 2016
The first chapter is what makes this book: 88 pages of astonishing sadness, the amazing elucidation of the painful psyche of main character Rufus and could easily be a standalone novella/short story in Baldwin's remarkable oeuvre; perhaps one of the best short stories about the human psyche I've come across so far.

This chapter sets up for what's to follow; more pain, more self-analysis of what it means to be of color, what it means to loathe the opposite or the oppressor, to loathe yourself for
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-authors
“But it was only love which could accomplish the miracle of making a life bearable—only love, and love itself mostly failed …”

Have you ever had somebody tell you something, something secret and maybe a bit shocking but at the same time familiar and it makes you see them for who they are and that brings up these tender feelings for them that you didn’t know you had and after that you look at them and yourself and the whole world differently? That’s Another Country.

This is my first reading of Bal
May 06, 2015 rated it liked it
La bohème de New York

Il terzo romanzo di Baldwin, uscito nel 1962, letto una decina di anni fa. Ricordo una lettura sicuramente molto interessante ma anche un'impressione non proprio piacevole; probabilmente per le vicende raccontate, e ancora di più per il tono generale.
Tutti i personaggi ruotano in qualche modo intorno al mondo culturale newyorkese, in particolare al Greenwich Village. Assolutamente centrale la dimensione razziale, vividamente percepita da tutti i personaggi, che aliment
MJ Nicholls
Nov 18, 2012 marked it as half-read
200pp read. Fed up. Fed and up. Enough of this popular-classic pootling. I am planning a triumphant return to the brave and beautiful borders of the avant-garde. I will be raiding the archives of the following pioneers: Soft Skull, Dzanc Books, Green Integer, Coffee House Press, David R. Godine, NYRB, New Directions, FC2 and—all together now!—Dalkey Archive. I cordially invite you to leave the names of any daring experimental fiction presses that have escaped my attention in the comment box, and ...more
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"Nobody – no man and no woman – is precisely what they think they are. Love is where you find it. And you don’t know where it will carry you. And it's a terrifying thing. Love - it’s the only human possibility but it’s terrifying.
If you can’t love anybody you are dangerous because you’ve no way of learning humility."

Excerpt from an interview with James Baldwin. Source: Youtube

Although this interview wasn’t specifically related to Another Country I felt what James Baldwin said there summar
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-5-stars
3.5 stars

Baldwin gave me a lonely, desolate, angry, violent vision of New York from the point of view of a group of liberal artists and how they lived the racial tension between blacks and whites. In their turn they had to deal with conflict that showed how much or how not so liberal they were. Their search for meaning, love, connection was and is universal regardless of race. But racial/historical differences will raise their ugly heads. I might say that this story is about something that happe
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Something about Baldwin's writing doesn't quite work for me and I wasn't sure what it was until I read this book; it's the centrality of male pain. Despite what Ida goes through, it's Rufus' death that is privileged, Rufus' hardship that shapes how Ida views her life, more than her own experiences. It's Rufus' death that is the crux of Baldwin's condemnation of America. The only character who dislikes Rufus for beating up his white southern girlfriend is Richard, the least sympathetic, least fle ...more
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of Great Literature
A relentless, searching, profound novel. Much is dated, but that's okay for readers such as I, with anthropological tendencies, i.e., old Times Square hustler argot, 50s slang -- but AC also fills in the gaps, it shows how thing were done then, the whites who went to (gasp!), private negro jazz improvs, 50s publishing circles, etc.

The structure as mentioned, is innovative: the loss of a person seen through a cast of characters who run the gamut; literarary, successful, unsuccessful, rich, poor,
Tananarive Due
May 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love Baldwin's writing style, but this novel has been in my bathroom (read: "library") for months, and I'm only making progress a few pages at a time. An original paperback copy sat in my office for years before that. I was curious about a novel featuring mostly white characters--and it's very well-written, but I have had some trouble engaging over the long term.

ADDENDUM: I'm a softie. I'll just get that out. So I'm giving this book five stars although I suspect it might only deserve four...b
Brian Gatz
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book embarrasses any number of writers who think themselves serious in matters of love, sex, poverty, art, or race--I'm not going to name names, but both sides of the Atlantic have in recent years given us writers who think that the upper-middle class satisfy all confrontations on these matters, whether as artist of subject matter. Baldwin possesses a degree of integrity that would be laughable were it not so grounded both in subject matter as well as quality of writing. In another's hand, ...more
J Beckett

A most magnificent novel of human emotion, disoriented spirit, love, honor, passion, and sorrow. Baldwin, once again, took readers into that place where the senses are pushed into overdrive. His ability to paint the portraits of Rufus, Vivaldo, Ida, Richard, Cass, Eric, Ellis, and a half dozen or so others, in the most vivid of colors, is testimony to the brilliance of Baldwin and remains, in my opinion, virtually unmatched. Five stars is hardly enough. Highly recommended to anyone who w
Diana Simumpande
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, owned
When James Baldwin turned up on his dear friend, Engin Cezzar’s, doorstep in the middle of a party exhausted, disillusioned and in poor health having bared the brunt of a tumultuous life, clutching a suitcase encased with a manuscript he’d been working for years, he’d been on the brink of suicide. The foundations of Another Country.

First I’d like to express my deep regret and shock at my prolonged neglect of such an important author and also my absolute delight at having finally reconciled that
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

disclaimer i skim read this and only really read important sections because i'm ovERWHELMED BY SCHOOL READING AND THAT'S THE PRICE THAT HAS TO BE PAID WHEN I HAVE TO READ 4-5 BOOKS A WEEK OKAY
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
[...]not unless you're willing to ask yourself how you'd have made it, if they dumped on you what they dumped on Rufus. And you can't ask yourself that question because there's no way in the world for you to know what Rufus went through, not in this world, not as long as you're white.
Πρόκειται για ένα επικό Νεοϋορκέζικο μυθιστόρημα με υπεραφθονία θεμάτων (η αγάπη, η τιμή της αγάπης, η αυτοχειρία, οι φυλετικές και σεξουαλικές διακρίσεις της δεκαετίας του '50-'60) και χωρίς ιδιαίτερα καίρια πλοκ
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't know if I will ever be able to manage a proper review for Baldwin's "Another Country". If "uncomfortable" could be used as a compliment, I would start my review exclaiming "What an uncomfortable book!"
"Giovanni's Room", my first book by Baldwin, had already introduced me to the complexity of his themes, and "Another Country" took this complexity to a whole new level. Color, sexual identity, fear, discrimination, violence that breeds even more violence, hatred, uncertainty, social pressur
Perhaps now, though, he had hit bottom. One thing about the bottom, he told himself, you can't fall any farther. He tried to take comfort from this thought. Yet there knocked in his heart the suspicion that the bottom did not really exist.

"I'd like to prove to her—one day," he said; and paused. He looked out of the window. "I'd like to make her know that the world's not as black as she thinks it is."
"Or," she said, dryly, after a moment, "as white."
Previous to Another Country, all my Baldwin w
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Set in 1960s New York City bohemia, “Another Country” cuts into the white liberal psyche and reveals the destruction that benevolent racist actions cause to blacks. It also tells stories of how blacks cope with internalized racism, the desire to love whites, and the violence they find themselves committing against them. “Another Country” is an amazing title. It is a metaphor for the territory of other people that characters struggle to love. Traditional heterosexual, interracial, and homosexual ...more
Missy J
My second time reading James Baldwin after The Fire Next Time. This time it's a fictional story centered around the character Rufus, an African American homosexual saxophone player and his friends. Early on in the novel, we find out that Rufus (view spoiler). The rest of the book focuses on Rufus' friends' and sister's general relationship problems.

The writing was surprisingly smooth and easy to read. There was a lot of dialog between the characters, so the siz
I've just watched the historic debate between James Baldwin versus William F. Buckley Jr. at Cambridge University in 1965. Baldwin's eloquent speech reminded me that I really have to start reading his work. Most impressive.
B. P. Rinehart
His face was as the heavens; and therein stuck
A sun and moon, which kept their course,
and lighted
The little O, the earth.
- Antony and Cleopatra Act 5, Scene 2

A Playlist from/inspired-by novel:
Backwater Blues by Bessie Smith
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E♭ major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Since I Fell For You by Dinah Washington
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, by Dmitri Shostakovich
In The Upper Room by Mahalia Jackson
Joy & Pain by Maze feat. Frankie Beverly -- This was, of course,
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
On the short list of best books I've ever read. I gulped it down in 3 days staying with my great-aunt in France, and the emotional intensity literally would not let me put it down. I found it difficult to analyze it on a thematic level, because the immediacy of the prose grips you with the sharp phenomenology of reality. The book feels more "true" to me than almost any I have read, not necessarily because of what happens, but because of how truthfully and clearly the experience of life is render ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic.

James Baldwin offered a vital literary voice during the era of civil rights activism in the 1950s and '60s. He was the eldest of nine children; his stepfather was a mini
“People don't have any mercy. They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you're dead, when they've killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn't have any character. They weep big, bitter tears - not for you. For themselves, because they've lost their toy.” 319 likes
“We all commit our crimes. The thing is to not lie about them -- to try to understand what you have done, why you have done it. That way, you can begin to forgive yourself. That's very important. If you don't forgive yourself you'll never be able to forgive anybody else and you'll go on committing the same crimes forever.” 70 likes
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