Giovanni’s Room

Baldwin’s haunting and controversial second novel is his most sustained treatment of sexuality, and a classic of gay literature. In a 1950s Paris swarming with expatriates and characterized by dangerous liaisons and hidden violence, an American finds himself unable to repress his impulses, despite his determination to live the conventional life he envisions for himself. After meeting and proposing to a young woman, he falls into a lengthy affair with an Italian bartender and is confounded and tortured by his sexual identity as he oscillates between the two.

I was supposed to read Giovanni’s Room in June for LGBT Month. It was one of AdultBooklr’s picks. However, my book order took forever to get here, so I’m late, as usual! We finally read a classic, and I don’t have it!!

Holy crap this is good! And SEXY. And GAYYYYY. Wowzers. I’ve read Drarry fanfiction that was not as sexy, gay, and angsty as this book was. Is all James Bald

win like this? Sign me right the hell up.

Because my brain works the way it does, I kept mixing up the time periods. This did not occur in the 1950s for me–it was all turn of the century in my head. Who the hell knows why? I know these were more bars than men’s clubs, but that’s what I was picturing. Maybe the word “patron”–old men sponsoring the young ones into their private dark wood-paneled billiards rooms.


I loved this. It was so short, though! Not only is it super gay literature, but there’s also a pretty fantastic feminist vs misogynist conversation going on as well. You don’t see writing like this even in today’s fiction. Giovanni’s Room is a bold statement, no matter what time period you are in, and we need so much more of it.


Fulfills Boxall #109


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