Giovanni's Room by James Balwdin Giovanni's Room
James Balwdin

"What kind of life can we have in this toom? - this filthy little room. What kind of life can two men have together, anyway?"

Though itís set in the 1950ís in many way itís up to date today. David who is an American escapes to Paris where he meets the Italian Giovanni. Davidís conflict on his on sexual identity, on one side there is his girlfriend Hella, who is considering his marriage proposal in Spain, and on the other hand Giovanni who he met in a gay bar. David keeps oppresses his feelings and tries to live the life expected of a white, middle class American guy.

The room is claustrophobic, unkempt and foul. The threatening character of the room is mirrored by the threat of the feelings mutual feelings David has for Giovanni. Thereís no hope in the relationship, and I canít help but to see it as a tragedy. The life of a gay man is described mostly as shameful and dirty.

"When I knew that it was dead, I took our crucifix of the wall and I spat on it and threw it on the floor and my mother and my girl screamed and I went out. We buried it right away, the next day, and then I left my village and I came to this city where surely God has punished me for all my sins and for spitting on His holy son."

Some people find James Baldwin extremely boring and an over worded type of author; others are fascinated by his way of telling the tale. Itís story of passion and morality.

Baldwin left the US for France in the 1950ís and died in Paris 1987.


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