Go Tell It on the Mountain

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
3
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This haunting coming-of-age story, based in part on James Baldwin's childhood in Harlem, is an American classic.

Originally published in 1953, Go Tell It on the Mountain was Baldwin's first major work. With a potent combination of lyrical compassion and resonant rage, he portrays a fourteen-year-old boy questioning the terms of his identity. John Grimes is the stepson of a fire-breathing and abusive Pentecostal preacher in Harlem during the Depression. The action of this short novel spans a single day in John's life, and yet manages to encompass on an epic scale his family's troubled past and his own inchoate longings for the future, set against a shining vision of a city where he both does and does not belong. Baldwin's story illuminates the racism his characters face as well as the double-edged role religion plays in their lives, both oppressive and inspirational. In prose that mingles gritty vernacular cadences with exalted biblical rhythms, Baldwin's rendering of his young protagonist's struggle to invent himself pioneered new possibilities in American language and literature.

Introduction by Edwidge Danticat
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
Copyright Date: ©1981
ISBN: 9781101907610
1101907614
Branch Call Number: BAL
Characteristics: xxvii, 236 pages ;,22 cm.

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Challenged because the book has recurring themes of rape, masturbation, violence, and degrading treatment of women.


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BWilsoned
Aug 01, 2014

This rating system doesn't work for me on this book. It's beautifully written and is a powerful image of the intricate latticework of emotions, culture, and family that make up John's world in a northern city in the early 20th century. I DO understand why some people turn to religion for hope in hard times and trying circumstances. Certainly the folks who inhabit this story have a need for the hope that there's something better later on; however, I'm not a fan of the hypocrisy of religion, those who use religion to justify their actions, or those who ascribe everything in their lives to some all-powerful, all-knowing force. Gabriel, in particular, rankled, which I'm sure Mr. Baldwin intended, but so did so many of the other characters' actions and attitudes. And for John, I almost cried at the ending, and not with happiness. So with all the sermonizing and testifying to wade through, I didn't "like" this book, but I'm glad I read it.

ZolaFan Jan 17, 2013

Powerful, powerful, powerful. Muscular and poetic prose. Leaves a lasting impression.

TKasongo Jul 09, 2012

I really enjoyed this book and the way James Baldwin writes is amazing. I love how poetic and descriptive he is.

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