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Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2 
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 Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2
Another Country by James Baldwin
Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2



Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:31 pm
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Post Re: Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2
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.


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Mon May 17, 2021 6:09 pm
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Post Re: Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2
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.



Mon May 17, 2021 7:07 pm
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Post Re: Book Three: Toward Bethlehem - Chapter 1 & 2
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.


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Mon May 17, 2021 7:38 pm
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