Narrated by Adam Lazarre-White.Challenge: Personal Genre: American classic, coming of age Type/Source: Audio/Audible Why I read this now: This was the only audiobook I had on my phone at the moment I was ready to listen to a new one.
MOTIVATION for READING: I am curious. Baldwin is mentioned as an important writer and I had yet to read any of his work.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: Not at all what I expected. I thought it was a going to be an essay on race relations in America. It’s fiction! I did not know it was fiction. I did not know it was semi-autobiographical. I was not prepared at all for this.
It is a story of a family and an individual family member grappling with his destiny against family history and expectations and cultural storms. It captures a certain place and time but the theme is universal.
WHAT’s GOOD: The writing blew me away. Here’s the blurb from goodreads; bold red font emphasis is mine:
Go Tell It on the Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a semi-autobiographical novel that has established itself as an American classic. 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 1935. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Powerful.
RATING: Four slices of pie. The narration is excellent.
“after dinner, they brought up the pie and coffee and cream…”