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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • March 13, 2006

     

    [31] Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin

    "Love him and let him love you."

    A young American expatriate in Paris is torn between relationship with a woman and love affair with a man. Set in the 1950s, Giovanni's Room is a man's excruciating repentance, or rather reminiscence, of one particular lie among the many lies he has told in his life. Could it be the first love, or maybe his only love, because David has never for an instant truly forgotten his first love, Giovanni, and the thought of whom often gives a guilty lurch in his stomach. He feels in himself a faint, dreadful stirring of what so overwhelming stirs in him. He meets Giovanni at the bar while his girlfriend Hella vacations in Spain. But David is uneasy about this relationship that is no more than just a sexual escapade with Giovanni. A feeling of contempt and pique conquers him to an extent that fear and anguish have become the surface on which he slips and tumbles. Is David really confused as he claims to be? Or is he just afraid of being despised? He is on a constant struggle for social approbation that he will forfeit his Giovanni's love for him - maybe his love for Giovanni as well? He thinks being with Hella will rescue him from his love for Giovanni.

    At first I am not sure how much David cherishes Giovanni until he confesses his irrevocable love for him. That he will never be able to love anyone like he loves Giovanni intensifies his mental struggle with the forbidden love: What kind of life can two men have together? He keeps on fighting his life, fighting his love because he sees no prospect of a life shared by two men. Beneath this struggle for social acceptance is laden with a deep calling to abandon the conventional norms of success, worth, and love. He views this abject terror of desire with interminable cynicism and cruelty.

    Giovanni's Room explores the troubling emotions of man's heart with unusual candor and yet with dignity and intensity. It delves into the most controversial issue of morality with an artistry. The most touching and absorbing thing is Giovanni's unconditional love for David, whose fearful intimation opens in him a hatred for Giovanni that is as powerful as his love for him. This love for Giovanni has been meticulously suppressed, and is not recognized until the ineluctable separation, which compounds David's scruple. The loss compounds his regret of not confessing his love. Even though Giovanni is very fond of him already, Giovanni's affection and loyalty do not make him happy or proud, as it should. Aren't we all somehow like David? We always want to wait to make sure the feeling is right, but how can we be sure? To David Love can only be measured by the grief so inconsolable that is concomitant of his loss. To the rest of us it's a message to drop our ego for an ideal relationship.

    8 Comments:

    Anonymous iliana said...

    Great review. I read this a long time ago and can't remember much. I should re-read it.

    3/14/2006 9:10 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    this book was absolutely amazing.

    9/08/2006 5:56 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yet, unfortunately, I had a possibility to read an excerpt of the book that I still loved very much. Hope to have a chance to read the complete book.
    pliesius

    11/20/2006 4:01 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yet, unfortunately, I had a possibility to read an excerpt of the book that I still loved very much. Hope to have a chance to read the complete book.
    pliesius

    11/20/2006 4:03 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This book questions what love can be. You could have made this book based on a heterosexual relationship and it would not have captured people's resistance to love and life in North America. We're so caught up into fitting into a mold that has been told to us that we forget who we are and what we feel in the process. The relationship David and Giovanni had emphasizes this mold and the internal struggle David has to go through in order to be comfortable with himself. Not necessarily that he is homosexual, but that he shouldn't fear who he is and how he feels. He obviously loves both people, Giovanni and Helen (sp?), but is so caught up with the dichotomy of bisexual (or perhaps asexual) love that a person can have.

    Word.

    1/24/2007 8:17 PM  
    Blogger Mihael said...

    I want to read this book but I have had some difficulties to get it. However, I don't have almost any difficulty to get Viagra Online. Definitely, I will read it completely when I have it in my hands.

    11/17/2010 9:29 AM  
    Anonymous Metro Ethernet said...

    this an awesome book, I want to read it, but I can't find one. in all the books stores is sold!!!
    this is a book, that may help us, in our life

    4/16/2011 1:14 PM  
    Anonymous viagra online pharmacy said...

    It is quite weird a book like that. It is the first time that I heard about it. Thanks for the review. It is something that my girlfriend likes to read.

    1/10/2012 12:47 PM  

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