The Depth and Lyricism in Giovanni’s Room

I am nearly finished with James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. This novel is very lyrical. The language the author utilizes is poetical, almost like food for the mind. This is a character-driven story, which I enjoy, and James Baldwin captures the human condition in such a way that it moves you. You see humans in their rawest portrayal, every emotion on the spectrum.

You might not necessarily identify with David, the main character, you might not approve of his decisions, but you’re left dumbfounded with the beautiful imagery and thinking that he describes. I, for example, do not relate to David in various aspects, but I understand him. You feel his grayness, his dull outlook on life. You feel his soul being stretched out between desire and morality, between choosing a life with Giovanni or choosing a life with Hella. The issue is that desire and morality begin to bleed into one another and we, as well as David, cannot seem to really distinguish them. As I mentioned before, I haven’t finished the novel.

The book is very raw and intimate in the sense that we feel everything. I could paint a picture of the setting very precisely, had I the artistic ability. The reader not only sees the physical location and the people, we see every light, every shadow, we see movement, we see expression. The beautiful depictions of Paris also enthralled me. To phrase it concisely, very lyrical and beautiful writing that makes one think of human behavior.

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