Tag Archives: fear

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

giovannis-room-by-james-baldwin Title: Giovanni’s Room
Author: James Baldwin
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 978-0345806567
Genre: Literary Fiction, LGBTQ, LGBT
Pages: 176
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

I waited this long to read this gem. “Giovanni’s Room” was always on my to be read pile but I never picked it up and even if I did, I just read a couple of pages and dropped it. Yes, I am aware of the sacrilege but it is all sorted now and hopefully a thing of the past, because I intend to reread and reread this marvelous book of loss, unrequited love and courage to some extent.

It is a fluid book. At the same time, it is also the kind of book that makes you introspect and travel deep within the recesses of your heart to perhaps realize yourself better. It is about David (the narrator) who is American living in Paris. He has a seemingly normal life with a girlfriend in tow, and things change when he meets Giovanni. It is the 50s and Paris was the place where homosexuality wasn’t illegal, though stigmatized to a large extent. It gives David the freedom to explore and know himself and he unknowingly falls in love with Giovanni only for the book to reach its heartbreaking conclusion (Don’t worry; I shall not spoil it for you, though you will know in the first two pages).

Baldwin wrote this book in the 50s – when perhaps it was unimaginable to think of an LGBT book. David is not likeable. He is confused, lost and often does not come across as a great guy to be with, and yet Baldwin created one of the most unforgettable characters in him and Giovanni and their love story – which is toxic, destructive and will not stop at anything.

Subcultures as presented by the author on every page – many characters unfold as the journey of these two men take place side by side. Love in the margins is not easy to write about. Everything about Giovanni’s room depicts David’s state – emotionally and physically, beautifully portrayed by Baldwin. To sum this book in one line, I will quote from this book: “Nobody can stay in the Garden of Eden”.

387 Days of Short Stories: Day 2: Story 2: The Whole Town is Sleeping by Ray Bradbury

Title: The Whole Town is Sleeping
Ray Bradbury
Taken From: Dandelion Wine
First Published: 1950s

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury always knows how to do it best. His stories are not all science fiction oriented and neither are they all based in fear or supernatural. He somehow knows how to evoke fear in simple words and plot. Bradbury’s stories evoke terror like no other. This was again the second time I was reading this story and it managed to have the same effect on me, like it did earlier.

“The Whole Town’s Sleeping” is about a town and a murderer who is haunting its women – the Lonely One they call him and it is the story of an evening where three single women head out to watch a film, knowing that the Lonely One is out and large and it is of the consequences of being out, while the whole town is sleeping.

As usual, with all his stories, Bradbury creates an element of suspense. The scene and the atmosphere are created till the very end of the story and bam, there is a punch-line waiting for the reader. The ravine and its monstrosity are depicted stunningly and so is the night and the scenes – the lonely clock, the moon, the drugstore and the cinema hall are macabrely described. The reader’s imagination goes on to a different level while reading this story and I would urge everyone again to read this story.