If Beale Street Could Talk (James Baldwin)
Synopsis (Goodreads): In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions-affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.
You know that feeling you sometimes get when you emerge from beneath whatever rock you’ve been under, and you finally see the light? The simultaneous glazing over of the eyes, the rapid blinking to adjust to what you’re seeing, that overdrive humming in your mind? That…that’s what this book is! I can only thank my good friend @Kenyanlibrary for the enlightenment (https://kenyanlibrary.wordpress.com/ – follow him, his photography is lush!).
If Beale Street Could Talk may be short (one of the reasons I picked it up was I needed a break from the heavy psychology reading list I have to get through), but it packs a powerful punch.
I finished this book almost a month ago, but I’ve had to reflect on it for a while before I felt like I could write about what it meant to me. James Baldwin wrote If Beale Street Could Talk over forty years ago, and the underlying issues about racism and injustice in America ring even more true today. Furthermore, he does it with luscious, poetic prose, and through a tender, very relatable love story that instantly draws you in.
In summary, this was one of those books that made me fall back in love with reading, and this is definitely an author I want to read more of now that I’ve seen the light!
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