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An alternate cover for this ISBN can be found hereBaldwin's haunting and controversial second novel is his most sustained treatment of sexuality and a classic of gay literature In a s Paris swarming with expatriates and characterized by dangerous liaisons and He grasped me by the collar wrestling and caressing at once fluid and iron at once saliva spraying from his lips and his eyes full of tears but with the bones of his face showing and the muscles leaping in his arms and neck You want to leave Giovanni because he makes you stink You want to despise Giovanni because he is not afraid of the stink of love You want to kill him in the name of all your lying moralities And you you are immoral You are by far the most immoral man I have met in all my life Look look what you have done to me Do you think you could have done this if I did not love you Is this what you should do to love James Baldwin in HarlemDavid is an American living in Paris attempting to find himself His girlfriend Hella is in Spain taking some time to think about whether she wants to commit the rest of her life to David Meanwhile David is out of funds and his father is willing to let him starve a bit in the hopes that he will come home He is after all getting a bit old pushing thirty to still be looking for himself There is this legitimate fear that he will never find himself and if that is the case he might as well come home and rejoin the real world of marriages careers and cocktails He meets Giovanni not because he is looking for someone but because he is paying the price of borrowing money from Jacues an old lecherous American business man who will lend you money but it will cost you time entertaining him with your presence and your conversation Hopefully you are not so desperate that it will cost you even Jacues finds Giovanni attractive and hopes that David can convince the young man to have a drink with them The best laid plans of salacious old men rarely bear fruit They have to be patient and wait for the specter of starvation to land them a pliable playmate This is one of those times when it all backfires on Jacues but he will continue to spin a web and wait for a bobble in finances After all Paris is an expensive city and with so many young men on the verge of destitution he only has to wait for a tug on one of his many sugared threads David goes home with Giovanni I was trembling I thought if I do not open the door at once and get out of here I am lost But I knew I could not open the door I knew it was too late soon it was too late to do anything but moan He pulled me against him putting himself into my arms as though he were giving me himself to carry and slowly pulled me down with him to that bed With everything in me screaming No yet the sum of me sighed Yes Giovanni s Room comes to define David s whole Parisian experience The table was loaded with yellowing newspapers and empty bottles and it held a single brown and wrinkled potato in which even the sprouting eyes were rotten Red wine had been spilled on the floor it had been allowed to dry and it made the air in the room sweet and heavy But it was not the room s disorder which was frightening it was the fact that when one began searching for the key to this disorder one realized that it was not be found in any of the usual places For this was not a matter of habit or circumstance or temperament it was a matter of punishment and grief James Baldwin in ParisDavid is astute enough to recognize that this is not just a fling for Giovanni but a true attempt to not only find love but to also escape the past the present and an increasingly gloomy looking future I understood why Giovanni had wanted me and had brought me to his last retreat I was to destroy this room and give to Giovanni a new and better life This life could only be my own which in order to transform Giovanni s must first become part of Giovanni s room David operating with a safety net can afford to have an unnatural fling after all he is in France not America but for Giovanni this is a heart and soul relationship As David dances around his own desires and the realization that he must eventually straighten up and become a devoted member of heterosexual America it becomes increasingly difficult to know what to do about Giovanni The beast which Giovanni had awakened in me would never go to sleep again but one day I would not be with Giovanni any And would I then like all the others find myself turning and following all kinds of boys down God knows what dark avenues into what dark places Hella like a lifeboat on the horizon writes to say she has made her choice She is coming back to Paris to be with David Elation and dread suddenly tinge the unraveling of all of his loosely conceived relationshipsUnder the guise of some bizarre logic David decides he must be with a woman as if to create a demarcation line between Giovanni and Hella It doesn t really matter what woman just a woman The lucky winner is Sue but David doesn t get away without a dagger of remorse pricking his darkening soul Maybe you ll be lonely again she said finally I guess I won t mind if you come looking for me She wore the strangest smile I had ever seen It was pained and vindictive and humiliated but she inexpertly smeared across this grimace a bright girlish gaiety as rigid as the skeleton beneath her flabby body If fate ever allowed Sue to reach me she would kill me with just that smile I ll leave the rest to you fair reader There are twists and turns and the fates of many rest on the resolve of one man and whether he can be honest about his own nature The Elegant Mr James BaldwinJames Baldwin s publisher gave him some advice in regards to this manuscript He felt he must burn the book because the theme of homosexuality would alienate him from his readership among black people Fortunately he was wrong Critics thank goodness were kind to the book because of Baldwin s reputation and status as a writer Sure this book makes the list of best gaylesbian books ever written but it also makes the list of many BEST BOOKS ever writtenI m going to come out of the closet and say I m a heterosexual male although why I m not sure except that I m just wired that way The same way that the various sexually self designated people are wired to be attracted to a multitude of diversely sexually oriented people To say this is a gay novel certainly is not an attempt to denigrate the book but it does seem to limit the scope of the vision There is viciousness lust loneliness deception sorrow tenderness despair and ultimately tragedy that makes this book easily one of the top 100 best books I ve ever read Every reader will find something of themselves in this book maybe not the part of themselves that they want to hold up to the mirror but certainly a fragment disdainful in nature or worthy of pity that can not be denied This really should be my second or third reading of this novel but somehow it has been on my radar and fallen off my radar numerous times over the years A helpful nudge from John Irving in his book In One Person convinced me that I needed to uit dawdling and read this book The Paris of the 1950s doesn t exist any but luckily for you and I it is still vibrantly alive in the pages of this book If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

READ & DOWNLOAD Þ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ✓ James Baldwin

Giovanni's Room

D is confounded and tortured by his sexual identity as he oscillates between the two Examining the mystery of love and passion in an intensely imagined narrative Baldwin creates a moving and complex story of death and desire that is revelatory in its insight I wasn t sure any Baldwin book would surpass his Go Tell is to the Mountain which I loved but this one was even better and an immediate favourite This story was wonderfully written and explored a gay storyline which I have never encountered in African American writing from Baldwin s eraSupposedly uite a few prolific African American writers were not such big fans of Baldwin due to this reasonThis story is set in Paris and is about an American man David who is in love with both a man Giovanni and a woman Hella He really struggles to come to terms with his sexualityand to reconcile his inner conflict Baldwin really captures the Parisian atmosphere and it s obvious he was well acuainted with the city Reading his depiction of Paris has really activated my wanderlust There s to the story than the gay storyline though uestions are raised about authenticity the meaning of home whether we act out of fear or love etcI can honestly say I have never read writing uite like it before This is one I plan on purchasing to re read

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Hidden violence an American finds himself unable to repress his impulses despite his determination to live the conventional life he envisions for himself After meeting and proposing to a young woman he falls into a lengthy affair with an Italian bartender an i scarcely know how to describe that room it became in a way every room i had ever been in and every room i find myself in hereafter will remind me of giovannis room simply beautiful simply heartbreaking simply realthis would probably be a 3 star read if it hadnt been for moments of such elegant prose i love love love the way JB describes human emotions and feelings particularly love and affection but the overall narrative which reminds me very much of the type of storytelling used for all books published before 1980 is not my favourite but i do appreciate some aspects of the writing and im uite impressed with the content which is the heart of this novel 35 stars


10 thoughts on “Giovanni's Room

  1. says:

    ”He grasped me by the collar wrestling and caressing at once fluid and iron at once saliva spraying from his lips and his eyes full of tears but with the bones of his face showing and the muscles leaping in his arms and neck ‘You want to leave Giovanni because he makes you stink You want to despise Giovanni because he is not afraid of the stink of love You want to kill him in the name of all your lying moralities

  2. says:

    God Giovanni's Room is heart breaking I've been avoiding reviewing it a bit because it boils so much to the surface No summary or rev

  3. says:

    CONTAINS SPOILERSA great novel The word “ferocious” comes to mind when I think of the intensity of several keys scenes in the novel where the main character a gay man in Paris struggles to turn against his gay orientation and tries to find

  4. says:

    I scarcely know how to describe that room It became in a way every room I had ever been in and every room I find myself in hereafter will remind me of Giovanni’s roomAt the end of July I spent a short but glorious time in 1950s Par

  5. says:

    A lyrical work of fiction about the failure of love Giovanni's Room retraces the missteps that led an impassioned affair between two men away from the promise of happiness toward catastrophic ruin The first person narrator's ever present despair casts a melancholic shadow over the events he recollects even those that migh

  6. says:

    ‘i scarcely know how to describe that room it became in a way every room i had ever been in and every room i find myself in hereafter will remind me of giovannis room’ simply beautiful simply heartbreaking simply realthis would probably be

  7. says:

    WowI read only one review of this bookwhich was soooo goodI immediately bought a used copyyet I don't think 'any' review prepares a reader for what they are about to experience I have two words Morally Mystifying THANK YOU Lizzy I stayedand I 'was' granted this masterpiece

  8. says:

    It is under the foreign sky of Paris where identity is protected by anonymity and the most darkest secrets do not

  9. says:

    I wasn't sure any Baldwin book would surpass his Go Tell is to the Mountain which I loved but this one was even better and an immediate favourite This story was wonderfully written and explored a gay storyline which I have never encountered in African American writing from Baldwin's eraSupposedly uite a few prolific African Americ

  10. says:

    “Beneath the joy of course was anguish and beneath the amazement was fear By then anguish and fear had become the surface on which we slipped and slid losing balance dignity and pride” It’s a terrible thing to be driven by fear and shame To be caught in the web of self loathing mistrust denial untruths; in the eternal strug

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