Book Two: Any Day Now - Chapters 1, 2, 3 & 4

#175: April - June 2021 (Fiction)
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Chris OConnor
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Another Country by James Baldwin
Book Two: Any Day Now - Chapters 1, 2, 3 & 4
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Mr. P
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Not for nothing, but I wish Baldwin didn't write 100 page chapters. Sheesh. I am one of those that does not like to leave off in between a chapter. He doesn't even use many breaks.

Nothing of value to post yet. I just started a new job and been very busy. I am fortunate to have found a better job in these times. And the place seems great so far.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
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Brooks127
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Mr. P wrote:job and been very busy
Exact reason I've not been active on the site.

Plus, a friend who writes deep fantasy fiction sent me their book to read. It's a thousand pages of really detailed writing. They're cool and in no rush as the series is already out, but I feel bad for not being able to get into their story like I want to.
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Mr. P
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Damn. You just hate every character in the book. They are shallow, contemptible twats. Except maybe Rufus.
When you refuse to learn, you become a disease.
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DWill
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The characters give me a window into a different culture and seem little recognizable compared to me and people I know. The relationships are very intense, much more so than my own relationships. I don't always understand Baldwin's descriptions of the characters' thoughts--some obscurity there. I've read almost to the end and might be reflecting on later chapters.

I can't help being concerned for these people-- hundreds of cigarettes and drinks, and when do they eat? The atmosphere is claustrophobic and the city, it seems, is never portrayed as a place where you'd want to live. It's like an expressionist painting, often.

Well, Mr. P. Was right; Vivaldo takes up with Rufus' sister, Ida. I've also seen plenty of uses of "violence" and forms thereof, as Mr. P pointed out.
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Mr. P
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Claustrophobic is an excellent descriptor. It's like the characters are being suffocated by their very existence. The city is absolutely an oppressor in this setting.

I am just on Ch 3 of book 2. I gotta pick it up. This new job is very busy and I am just mentally tired when I get home.
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DWill
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Mr. P wrote:Claustrophobic is an excellent descriptor. It's like the characters are being suffocated by their very existence. The city is absolutely an oppressor in this setting.

I am just on Ch 3 of book 2. I gotta pick it up. This new job is very busy and I am just mentally tired when I get home.
You're very tired, and the last thing you might need is a book that seems wearying at times--I get it. Looking at the back-cover blurb on my edition, I see the grimness of Baldwin's vision is hailed as" expos[ing] the American dream as a never-to-be-forgotten nightmare." Several other quotes stress the power and fierceness of Baldwin's portrait of our society at the time, such as the NYT's: "Searing...violent (!)...brilliantly and fiercely told." All of that is true, resulting in a novel in which simple happiness is almost absent (until the very end, really). Baldwin gives no quarter to our normal needs and expectations for a novel; I can't decide what to make of that, whether to credit him for being uncompromising and fearless, or to blame him for heavy-handedness and distortion. Well, I found the first long chapter on Rufus very compelling, but 300 more pages of alienation and urban misery were not easy to stay with. I guess Baldwin intended that as strong medicine. Does it tend to kill the reader?

His view of sexuality is interesting, though, something we see explored in the second half of the book.
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