Giovanni's Room

A beautifully written, sad sad book. Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin, is a book about a man in Paris, David, struggling with his sexuality. The story is told in flashbacks. At the beginning we already know that David is alone, his fiancee Hella has left him and his lover Giovanni is scheduled to die by guillotine for murder. Slowly, David tells the story of how he meets Giovanni, how they become lovers, and how David leaves him. Baldwin, through his writing, makes you both hate and love David.

a few lines, as soon as i read them, reminded me of R, a perfect description of him:
I had decided to allow no room in the universe for something which shamed and frightened me. I succeeded very well--by not looking at the universe, by not looking at myself, by remaining, in effect, in constant motion.
R was one for constant motion and i think sustained it because he can't, or at least couldn't, handle quiet and self-reflection.

But enough about exes. I loved this book. Loved it. Written in 1956, it is relevant to any one who has wondered about their place in the world, about how to become yourself, about how to be true to others.

So i give this one a 7. Read it! it's only 250 pages. This counts for my personal challenge and for the TBR section for Bart's 2010 Challlenge.


  1. Anonymous9/1/10 15:29

    "A beautifully written, sad sad book." That is the perfect description of this book. I loved reading it, but it was heartbreaking.

  2. very heartbreaking. you feel so bad for everyone!

  3. This sounds lovely - I'm definitely adding it to my reading list.


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