Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin: | donkeytime.org: BooksIt broke my heart and made me want to jump up and down, unable to fully articulate my own response towards it. It is a semi-autobiographical novel that tells the story of one day his birthday in the life of the poverty-stricken year-old John Grimes, mostly spent roaming the streets of New York and reflecting on the various demons ruling over his life: his violent preacher stepfather, his church, and the racist society into which he had the misfortune to be born. It captures an essential aspect of life in America, its contradictions and seductions, that bittersweet mix of love and hate that so many feel towards the country. Instead, it established Baldwin as a prominent black writer, a safe niche many thought, except that Baldwin disappointed them and his publisher when he chose to write his next novel about a gay white man living in Paris. His agent suggested he burn the book. Baldwin's response was "fuck you," and he went on to publish the novel first in England. Baldwin, both as a committed civil rights activist and a passionate writer, refused categorisations by race, gender, religion or political ideology.
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I figured that the author knew I wouldn't care to read the few chapters that concluded this book, so he left them out. Ending or no ending, the story was a word vomit of all the things most of us try to separate ourselves from in our lives. I finished the book feeling empty and disgusted. Go tell it on the mountain : [a novel]. James Baldwin. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of
Fasten your seatbelts, Shmoopers. It's going to be a bumpy read. James Baldwin's first novel, Go Tell it on the Mountain , is an intense, time-warping novel that moves back and forth in memory over more than seventy years, peeks inside the brains of multiple characters… and still all takes place during the course of one twenty-four hour period. It also somehow manages to touch on pretty much every controversial topic in US society. It explores the poverty and anger that racism fostered. It gives us a peek at the homosexual desire of the main character and the conflict this raises with his family and faith.
It tells the story of John Grimes, an intelligent teenager in s Harlem , and his relationship to his family and his church.
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Book Review: Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin
Sing or shout or testify or keep it to yourself: but know whence you came. The story was moulded by Baldwin's painful relationship with his stepfather, David, a disciplinarian preacher from New Orleans who repeatedly told his stepson that he was ugly, marked by the devil. When I first read it 10 years ago, I knew little of Baldwin's life and work, but something in his prose hit me, almost winding me with its intensity. I'd never read a novel that described loneliness and desire with such burning eloquence. Rereading Go Tell It on the Mountain in the light of Baldwin's later sustained attacks on the church particularly The Fire Next Time, , it's clear that he was deeply critical of religion; and yet I'm not convinced that his work became more secular. The church never gave up its hold on Baldwin, who was preaching in a Pentecostal church at 13, but he gave it up to write. As late as he talked of how "once I had left the pulpit, I had abandoned or betrayed my role in the community".