Saturday, 20 March 2021

James Baldwin, Another Country (1962)

Incredibly poignant novel with extremely relevant themes (race, gender, sexuality, class) and sentiments or motivations (desire, hatred, resentment, love, possession, death, suicide, rejection, difference) as much today as at the time of its publication. Baldwin, immensely eloquent, masterfully draws out the tensions, drives and electricity both overt and lingering in subtext and/or expressions not spoken, through a multitude of complex character dynamics: multi-faceted and intersectional (and personal) stakes are done justice. 

The network of political, racial, gender, and sexuality issues are explored, released into the air, interrogated, challenged, broken down, attempted to be built back up, yet no solution or answer is proposed with confidence or authority. Perhaps this is because these issues are too layered, individual, ancestral, etc. to really get resolved in any one book, through any one suggestion or via any one perspective or voice, and Baldwin knows this. 

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Caleb Azumah Nelson, Open Water

Extremely poetic, beautiful, human and urgent book. Every paragraph is packed with intensity and feeling.