Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

giovannisroomGiovanni’s Room follows the story of David, an American guy who is struggling to accept his sexuality. He has been seeing a girl named Hella for quite some time and is vacationing in Spain “to think.”David moved to Paris for some time and got involved with the Italian-born Giovanni. Uncertainty and confusion started to emerge on David as he finds himself having to choose between Giovanni and Hella. Inside Giovanni’s dark and suffocating room, much of this argument and discussion between man and woman, homosexuality and heterosexuality took place.

This is my first experience on James Baldwin’s works and I find this book remarkable. In 1950s America, discussions on homosexuality was very controversial. It also explores the people’s attitude during these times to topics like femininity and masculinity.

I love the novel’s structure where you know a murder will happen right from the start and as a reader, you would want to find out how it happened and why it happened.

This is a terribly sad and heart-wrenching novel but at the same time beautiful with a very rich prose. One of the many books I look forward to rereading.

Quotable Quotes:

It takes strength to remember, it takes another kind of strength to forget, it takes a hero to do both.”

Not many people have ever died of love. But multitudes have perished, and are perishing every hour – and in the oddest place! – for the lack of it.”

You are the one who keeps talking about what I want. But I have only been talking about who I want.”

“And no matter what I was doing, another me sat in my belly, absolutely cold with terror over the question of my life.”

“There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

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