Another Country

Another Country

by James Baldwin


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Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, among other locales, Another Country is a novel of passions--sexual, racial, political, artistic--that is stunning for its emotional intensity and haunting sensuality, depicting men and women, blacks and whites, stripped of their masks of gender and race by love and hatred at the most elemental and sublime.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679744719
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/28/1992
Series: Vintage International Series
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 37,699
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

James Baldwin was born in 1924 and educated in New York. The author of over twenty works of fiction and non-fiction, Baldwin received numerous accolades, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Grant. In 1986 he was made a Commander of the Legion of Honor. He died in 1987.

Date of Birth:

August 2, 1924

Date of Death:

December 1, 1987

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Place of Death:

St. Paul de Vence, France


DeWitt Clinton High School, New York City

What People are Saying About This

Hughes Langston

[Baldwin] uses words as the sea uses waves, to flow and beat, advance and retreat, rise and take a bow in disappearing…The thought becomes poetry and the poetry illuminates the thought.
—(Langston Hughes)

From the Publisher

"An almost unbearable, tumultuous, blood-pounding experience" —Washington Post

"Brilliantly and fiercely told." —The New York Times

Customer Reviews

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Another Country 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
KenFromMarblehead More than 1 year ago
To give James Baldwin's Another Country four stars (and not five) seems wrong. But he would have written it differently today. I suspect he thought social conditions for blacks and censorship in american literature would never change very much. Or, maybe his editor felt this was risky enough material for 1962. Consequently, the emotions and prejudices of the characters need to be interpreted by the reader with some historical perspective and the sexual situations are less vivid in their description than they might be today. What the book is, is an extremely personal study of human emotions under varied stresses. Interracial love, black and white racial prejudice, writers issues and homo/bisexuality in the early 1950's are examined closely through the characters. My sense is that Baldwin put a great deal of himself into this work beyond telling a story. For readers who enjoy highly original descriptive writing, Another Country has another whole level to appreciate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I was asked to read this book, I had no knowledge of James Baldwin whatsoever. I did not know what to expect from this book at first but once I started reading it I felt like it had carried me away to another era. It is very difficult to put down!! Baldwin is an extraordinary writer with such emotion and knowledge on what he writes about that you feel for the characters deeply. Throughout the book I was reaching for the Kleenex box! I am now hooked on Baldwin.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So when i first read this great book (i was maybe 17 or 18 some where around there) I had found it in my dads house .He is a professer at Oberlin Colloge. I picked it upp and could not stop reading untill I was done. I felt so bad . I cried many of times in that book . That is actual the fiorst book that has made me cry but so what it was a good book....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have heard of James Baldwin for 30 years, but had no time for reading then. I am retired and reading is my escape, thank God I found a used Baldwin from a library in New Hampshire, right here in Florida. I want MORE and in a darker or larger type.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another Country seeks to bring understanding to those who are often most misunderstood. Gay men, black women and adulterous wives, those societies tend to hate the most, the people who are often only understood by one another. I would recommend the book for open minds; it is a passionate novel that vocalizes the agony of being different.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After I read the first chapter, I could not put the book down, it was powerful, amusing and painful. So, after I experienced all these things within the first chapter, I had to keep reading, I have read alot of books, in my eight-teen years of life, and nothing has had me on my toes like this. You have to read it.
JosephJ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amazing book. Had to read it for an African American Lit class and I was not expecting to enjoy it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Great characters, interesting relationships and Baldwin handled the subject matter with the spectacular skill. He really caught the essence of the mixed bag of emotions that make up the human animal.
ocgreg34 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 1950s Harlem, Rufus, a young black man, walks around the wintry city, tired and hungry, remembering the good times that lead him to his current destitute situation. The music he once loved, now gone from his life, as were the two people he cared about in the world -- besides his sister Ida. Unable to bring himself to confront his friends, he makes a drastic move, jumping from the George Washington Bridge into the frigid Hudson River.Word of his death spreads quickly among his friends, triggering long hidden tensions to come into the light. Vivaldo, a young, white wannabe writer, who considered Rufus one of his best friends, now finds himself falling for his sister Ida. Ida, in the meantime, has aspirations of her own to make it big as a jazz singer. Cass and Richard, married for so many years and but realizing that they were just holding things together until Richard's novel was published. Then there's Eric, a young white boy from Alabama who moved to New York to pursue acting and found himself falling for Rufus. Unable to take the strain of their relationship, he fled to France, hoping that would help to put things in perspective.With the sad blues of Bessie Smith lingering the background, "Another Country" gathers Rufus' friends together and allows their pent up emotions to pour onto the pages. From the racial tensions of the 1950s, shown in great detail through the troubled relationship and jealousies between Vivaldo and Ida to sexual identity involving Eric's feelings for Rufus and for his new romantic interest Yves -- a man much younger than himself -- and how both pairs were different yet the same. And, it also covers the decline of marriage, focusing a lens on the affect Rufus' death had on Cass and Richard's marriage and how each handles it: one by hiding away behind a typewriter, the other by finding another in the same situation and striking up a clandestine love affair.It is a slow-moving tale, and for me, though it dealt with those heavy issues of race and sexuality, the story seemed to be nonchalant about the sexual relations, almost as if the characters had given up caring about not just what society thought but what they themselves thought. They seemed to jump from bed to bed as if it were almost a tedious, tiresome task that was expected of them. That indifference carried throughout the entire book. As for the racial tensions, it was interesting to read how Ida and Vivaldo handled their differences in the face of both acceptance and non-acceptance within both the black and white communities.After reading a few mini-biographies of the author James Baldwin, it almost seems to mirror what he felt was a disinterest by Americans to take a closer look at sexuality and issues of race which lead him to leave the United States for Paris in the late 1940s. "Another Country" provides a fine examination of those issues and is a definite recommended read.
NativeRoses on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Baldwin's honest portrayal of love, desire, despair, and how we succeed and fail with those we love. In moving scenes, his characters visit Baldwin's other country of love when they connect deeply across gender, race, class, and sexual preference differences to show how much pain love can overcome. This novel is deeply moving, and I believe it to be Baldwin's best.
RebeccaAnn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel was stunningly beautiful in its prose and depiction of its characters. They were tangible. I could relate to each and every one as they searched for their own personal identity. Baldwin attacked America with this book, showing the gritty, raw truth about racism and people's views towards those who don't "fit in".That said, this was also a hard book to read because it just would not end. I believe that a good book has to know when to end and I don't think Baldwin quite nailed it in this book. It just went on and on and on. I don't think it would have been so bad if there had been a serious plot, but this more of a "slice of life" novel. It depicts a time period in these characters' lives which has a plot and a climax, but not in the traditional sense. The book doesn't resolve cleanly. Neither does life. Things are left unfinished. However, there is so much searching for one's identity in this book that I kept feeling as if I had read events more than once and that gets a bit old after awhile.I do recommend this book because I think it's a fantastic book to read at least once in your life. I was touched and horrified and sad and happy throughout it. It touched all my emotions. However, I don't think I'll be rereading it anytime soon.3 stars.
drugfiend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favourites. The first chapter is magnetic: "You took the best - why not take the rest?"
CardiffGiant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another Country is James Baldwin's finest novel. While earlier works (Go Tell it...) approach issues of race, sexuality and gender differences from a more safe, calculated perspective, Another Country reveals boldly all that is uncomfortable in the American landscape. As always, Baldwin's characters are unforgettable and, as we are reading we feel desperately for Rufus, Leona, Vivaldo, Ida, Richard, Cass, Eric and Yves. These characters reflect the differences and frustrations in trying to communicate and understand one another in mid-century America. It is in the dialogue between the characters that Baldwin most shines. For many authors, dialogue tends to fade towards inauthentic, yet, Baldwin reveals in brutal honesty the differences (and, at times, similarities) between these characters.To avoid spoilers, I will simply state that the final few pages of chapter 1 and the final chapter provide some of the most touching and affecting prose in 20th Century American Literature.
foomy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eye-opening, depressing story about a black musician around the 60's.
ostrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This might be Baldwin's best novel, edging out Go Tell It On the Mountain, Giovanni's Room, and If Beale Street Could Talk.
Clurb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is some very powerful and daring writing in this story of a black musician's struggle with depression, friends and family in 1960s America. Very much ahead of its time.
KristySP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I first read this book, I was completely in love and transformed by Baldwin's powerful language. I felt as though I had never read anything as powerful. Upon a second reading, I was slightly less impressed, and distracted by gratuitous and cheesy sex scenes.'s worth the read and Baldwin's powerful message remains in tact...
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is another terrific novel from the talented James Baldwin. Here he writes a book that's brimming with raw emotion, frustration and fear. The suicide of a jazz musician prompts those closest to him to piece together what drove him to that desperate act. At the same time, it forces them to search for their own true identities, personal, sexual and racial, amidst a sea of longing and anger. This novel really makes us feel their pain and suffering and gives the reader¿s insight into what makes them tick. We are able to live in their world and share their lives with them. We hear startling revelations and look into their pasts through flashbacks. The characters of Vivaldo, Ida, Cass, Rufus, Eric and Richard virtually come to life, so much so that one feels these people really exist. This is a truly gripping story that is both intense and emotional. This book would make an excellent addition to any library. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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