tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > Going to Meet the Man

Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: literature, sociology

Whew! I've put off reading Baldwin - having 1st heard of him as much as 35+ yrs ago. This was everything I expected it to be.. & more. I was expecting devastating looks at American racism & that was certainly there - esp in the sickening title story. But there's much, much more. The sensitiveness of the language is on a par w/ Nabokov. There were so many points that I cd relate to. Baldwin articulates everything in such a clear-headed way - he makes the characters so easy to feel - even the horrific ones. I doubt that I'll ever say anything about Baldwin that hasn't already been sd by many others - so I'm just glad to be able to add my small voice to those who've praised him.

Each of these 8 stories is significantly different - while still sharing realism. It was the fictional realism that contributed to my putting off the reading. It seems that in fiction I prefer transcendent formal absurdist imagination to realism & wd rather just read political essays when it comes time to take a hard look at the hard subjects of racism & human nature.. BUT, that sd, thank goodness for Baldwin b/c he says what oh-so-desperately-needs-to-be-sd in the fictional form that's likely to reach the most people - & I reckon he's as famous as he is b/c he did it so well.

AGAIN, sensitive, sensitive, sensitive: I 'liked' it all (if the word 'liked' can be used in reference to the stories of terrifying cruelty & brutality), I felt it all. There was "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon" - a black American has the good sense & the good fortune to go to France where he becomes a reknowned singer & actor - like so many black American jazz musicians did - to the shame of a country traditionally oblivious to & hateful to culture. This story covers so much: simple personal things like love w/in a family, the main character's relationship to the white French director who's had more than his own share of tragedy, the French mistreatment of an African aquaintance, the subtle difficulties of black American tourists in relation to the latter in relation to the main character in relation to the director in relation to France in relation to the US. All handled beautifully.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 11, 2009 – Shelved
August 11, 2009 – Shelved as: literature
August 11, 2009 – Shelved as: sociology
August 11, 2009 – Finished Reading

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