I have to be honest, this is sort of a staged photo. It's one I took, but I definitely wasn't highlighting and making notes in this edition
. The copy I actually read
is quite beaten up at this point and even includes a few tear stains.
James Baldwin will forever be one of my favourite writers. I met someone today, a customer at work, who'd read Just Above My Head
, which I only just finished reading, and I could barely express my love for this novel. I really don't think I've highlighted and marked up a novel so much, to the point where I was going over passages repeatedly and staring off into space on the metro trying not to cry.
Following the Hall Brothers, Baldwin takes all the way back to the Harlem Renaissance when racial tensions are still high, the church's grip is still strong and sometimes smothering, and then picks back up in Paris and New York following the Korean War. With the same sexual progression as Giovanni's Room
, Baldwin creates a network of families and friends all of the same church and neighbourhood, following them from their youth onwards until Arthur's untimely death.
Look I don't know what to say about this book okay? I'm not good at this. I'm not good with books with authors that I already love and respect making me cry. I don't cry. But this, this made me cry. To see a family through the decades surpass just about everything the world could throw at them and try to rebuild and keep it together, it's overwhelming really. I'd strongly suggest you pick it up if you come across it.
Labels: 50 books in 52 weeks, james baldwin, just above my head