• In total there are 0 users online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 0 guests (based on users active over the past 60 minutes)
    Most users ever online was 1230 on Sun Jul 14, 2024 2:51 am

Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2

#175: April - June 2021 (Fiction)
User avatar
Chris OConnor

1A - OWNER
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 17035
Joined: Sun May 05, 2002 2:43 pm
22
Location: Florida
Has thanked: 3521 times
Been thanked: 1314 times
Gender:
Contact:
United States of America

Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2

Unread post

Another Country by James Baldwin
Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2
User avatar
Mr. P

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3826
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
20
Location: NJ
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 137 times
Gender:
United States of America

Re: Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2

Unread post

Ok. Finished the book. I just want to say that although this book was Uber depressing and the characters kind grated on me after a while, well...I will attribute that to just how it was meant to be.

I do enjoy Baldwin's writing. He speaks to what I see as such absolute truths about human nature. The truths we hide, that we deflect, that we try to pin on others. Insecurities.

I loved his descriptive word choices (I mentioned the creative use of 'violence' as the go to descriptor throughout...it holds true but not as heavily as the beginning) in setting the tone and atmosphere of the story. It just worked. His comma use is a bit frustrating, but even that, I suppose, helps us to, in the end, feel, not necessarily in our being, but the texture of his, world. ;)

He created some very believable characters. I reflected in on myself over many many passages. The relationship challenges (disasters) were all too real. This is, to me, the reality of relationships: they are difficult and arduous, and mainly because we are all just so unhappy with ourselves, so critical and far from stable enough to really give our all to another.

Baldwin created such great atmosphere as well. I felt the darkness and loneliness of the city. Growing up in the boroughs of NY, I felt all of this before, so maybe I had a susceptibility. But the darks, the wets, the stenches, the alienation, the loneliness in a sea of humanity, and the angst he described drew me in.

I was happy to see a somewhat happy ending, at least for the majority of the cast. But it is not the end. They all reached simply another plateau. Now the real challenges will being as they all try to sort out their lives and live within their, and each other's, skins.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
User avatar
DWill

1H - GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 6966
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:05 am
16
Location: Luray, Virginia
Has thanked: 2262 times
Been thanked: 2470 times

Re: Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2

Unread post

So much of the book was about Vivaldo, and unfortunately he was the character in whom I had the most trouble maintaining interest. I was more involved in Rufus, of course, and in Eric and Yves as well. Cass, Richard, and Ida were just okay. I appreciated the depth of Baldwin's observations on race and on sexuality, too. He sees sexuality as more fluid than we are likely to see it even 60 years on. Vivaldo and Eric go-to bed, Eric has sex with Cass, and Baldwin implies that going against one's sexual grain can be enriching. But he says that Vivaldo is in the end "condemned" to women and Eric "condemned" to men. I found that an interesting use of the word.

At any rate, the book made me want to read more of Baldwin's work.
User avatar
Mr. P

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3826
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
20
Location: NJ
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 137 times
Gender:
United States of America

Re: Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2

Unread post

DWill wrote:So much of the book was about Vivaldo, and unfortunately he was the character in whom I had the most trouble maintaining interest. I was more involved in Rufus, of course, and in Eric and Yves as well. Cass, Richard, and Ida were just okay. I appreciated the depth of Baldwin's observations on race and on sexuality, too. He sees sexuality as more fluid than we are likely to see it even 60 years on. Vivaldo and Eric go-to bed, Eric has sex with Cass, and Baldwin implies that going against one's sexual grain can be enriching. But he says that Vivaldo is in the end "condemned" to women and Eric "condemned" to men. I found that an interesting use of the word.

At any rate, the book made me want to read more of Baldwin's work.
Yes. His use of words is very interesting. And yes I have a few more of his works on my to read list.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
Post Reply

Return to “Another Country - by James Baldwin”