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Giovanni's Room


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About the Author

Born in Harlem in 1924, Baldwin had an early career as a teenage preacher. He lived in Paris from 1948-1956 and his first novels, the autobiographical GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN and GIOVANNI'S ROOM established him as a promising novelist and anticipated some of the themes of his later works, such as racism and sexuality. He became a prominent spokesperson for racial equality, especially during the civil rights movement. He lived in France during his last years. Baldwin died in 1987.


Baldwin's 1956 novel, his second, was daring for its time, depicting a young man deep into Paris's second expatriate movement following World War II as he grapples with his sexual identity. He is drawn both to his fianc?e and to a male Italian bartender with whom he begins an affair. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one -- Michael Ondaatje
Baldwin writes of these matters with unusual candour and yet with such dignity and intensity * The New York Times *
Audacious... remarkable... elegant and courageous -- Caryl Phillips
Baldwin, in this novel, made clear that he could work wonders with the light and shade of intimacy -- Colm Toibin * The New Yorker *
Startling... This is Mr. Baldwin's subject, the rareness and difficulty of love -- Granville Hicks

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