Just Above My Head (Penguin Modern Classics)

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9780140187991: Just Above My Head (Penguin Modern Classics)

James Baldwin first wrote about homosexuality in his famous early novel, Giovanni’s Room. Here he brings homosexuality and race together in the story of the great gospel singer Arthur Montana. Arthur was found dead in the basement of a London pub at the age of thirty-nine, yet he lies on in this memoir. Written by Hall, his brother and manager, it is in part a subtle and moving study of the treacherous ebb and flow of memory.

Set against a vividly drawn background of the civil rights movement of the sixties, Just Above My Head explores how Arthur discovers his love for Jimmy - 'with his smile like a lantern and a voice like Saturday nights’ - and portrays how profoundly racial politics can shape the private business of love.

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Review:

"If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one."
--Michael Ondaatje
"The work of a born storyteller at the height of his powers...glimpses of family life in Harlem, rapturous music-making in the churches, moments of uneasiness in even the most casual meetings between whites and blacks--scenes that Baldwin seems preternaturally gifted in understanding."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"A fine novel...it seems impossible for [Baldwin] to write with anything other than eloquence.His great and peculiar power is to re-create the maddening halfway house that the black man finds himself in late-twentieth-century America."
-- The New Yorker"

About the Author:

Born in Harlem in 1924, James Baldwin was a novelist, essayist, play­wright, poet, social critic, and the author of more than twenty books. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, appeared in 1953 to excellent reviews, and his essay col­lection The Fire Next Time was a bestseller that made him an influential figure in the civil rights movement. Baldwin spent many years in France, where he moved to escape the racism and homophobia of the United States. He died in 1987.

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Baldwin, James (Author)
Published by Penguin Classics (1994)
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