The electrifying first novel from James Baldwin, whose life and words are immortalized in the Oscar-nominated film I Am Not Your Negro 'I had to deal with what hurt me most.
I had to deal with my father.' Drawing on James Baldwin's own boyhood in a religious community in 1930s Harlem, his first novel tells the story of young Johnny Grimes.
Johnny is destined to become a preacher like his father, Gabriel, at the Temple of the Fire Baptized, where the church swells with song and it is as if 'the Holy Ghost were riding on the air'.
But he feels only scalding hatred for Gabriel, whose fear and fanaticism lead him to abuse his family.
Johnny vows that, for him, things will be different.
This blazing tale is full of passion and guilt, of secret sinners and prayers singing on the wind. 'A beautiful, enduring, spirtual song of a novel' Andrew O'Hagan 'With vivid imagery, with lavish attention to details, Mr. Baldwin has told his feverish story' The New York Times
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 272 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 04/10/2001
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780141185910
- Hardback from £9.45
- EPUB from £4.99
Showing 1 - 5 of 8 reviews.
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Review by Clurb
John is the young son of a black preacher fighting for the love of his family, his church and his god in turbulent downtown Harlem. Whilst John as a character was very engaging I lost interest in the story about half way through because of the writing style.
Review by roblong
Very intense, and a fascinating insight into a way of life and a point in time. The novel introduces John, a 14-year-old boy supposedly destined to be a preacher, like his father – a man he fears and hates. John’s father Gabriel is a fire and brimstone preacher who beats his sons and spreads terror everywhere he goes. Gabriel’s previous life, and that of his wife and his sister, are told in flashbacks that show how the family have got to this point. The book is set in 1935, and the older generation are all escapees of the South, born to parents who had lived in slavery. The first section in particular I thought was amazing, it really grabbed me from page 1, and barely let up until the end.
Review by mjennings26
One of my very favorite books.
Review by julierh
this book is so good. it's one of those you'll want to devote a close reading to, with pencil in hand to make note of its thought-provoking symbolism. it's full of insight, conflict, introspection, wisdom, and feeling. don't miss this harlem-renaissance inspired classic of american literature.
Review by stillatim
All this time I thought it was called 'Go Tell it *to* the Mountain.' Well, the mountain gets told from a great height I guess. Great structure, great writing, great insight. A few reviewers complain that the ending is too 'simplistic,' which I take it means 'main character doesn't become an atheist.' Indeed he doesn't, but to describe anything about this book as simplistic or disappointing, as if being slightly different means you have to break out of your entire community and history, is itself bizarrely simplistic. This book is great, and the ending deserves to be read closely and thought through, not complained about.
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