First published in 1957, this book attempts to tackle the conflict between homosexual and heterosexual love. It tells of David, a young man awakening to his true homosexual nature, through a relationship with a barman named Giovanni, as he awaits his fiancee's arrival from Spain. Unable to admit to the truth, David pretends the liaison never happened - while Giovanni's life descends into tragedy.
"If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one."
"A young American involved with both a woman and a man...Baldwin writes of these matters with unusual candor and yet with such dignity and intensity."--The New York Times
"Absorbing...[with] immediate emotional impact."--The Washington Post
"Mr. Baldwin has taken a very special theme and treated it with great artistry and restraint." --Saturday Review
"Exciting...a book that belongs in the top rank of fiction."--The Atlantic
"Violent, excruciating beauty."--San Francisco Chronicle -- Review
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 fiance and to a male Italian bartender with whom he begins an affair. Library Journal
James Baldwin (1924-1987) was born and educated in New York. Go Tell It on the Mountain, his first novel, was published in 1953. Evoking brilliantly his experiences as a boy preacher in Harlem, it was an immediate success and was followed by Giovanni's Room, which explores the theme of gay love. His novels are notable for the personal way in which they explore questions of sexual and racial identity.