Exploring Queer themes within a variety of literature

June 2016: Another Country by James Baldwin

Published 1962

Chosen by Peter,

"I know its just a short time since the group Baldwinned, but this book in some ways has connections to Giovanni's Room. In Giovanni's Room Baldwin dealt with homosexuality in a story populated solely by Caucasian characters. This was doubly controversial at the time. It was Baldwins "coming out book". His editor at the time advised him to burn it ! And his publishers refused it. It wasnt what they wanted. They wanted writing about Black life, writing about the "colour problem". It was first published in London.

"Another Country is a book which tackles many themes. The initial impetus for "Another Country" arose from actual events in Baldwins life in New York. Racism is dealt with incredible subtlety and sensitivity. Its brutality is evident in the effects it has on the initial main character of the book, Rufus. Sexuality is dealt with in an open and sometimes surprising way. Racism and sexuality were Baldwins perennial motifs. The story is peopled by both black and white characters whose stories interweave and unfold in a fascinating and surprising way. Honesty, hypocrisy, compromise,failure,manipulation,romance, betrayal and love tell this story. It is the humanity of the characters that make this story flow. The book became a best seller for Baldwin. It took him a few years to get right. It is now regarded, by Penguin at least, as a classic. And me."

Thurs 30th May 7.30pm 

The Lamplighter, Northampton