Go Tell It on the Mountain
By: James Baldwin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 💫
Book 67/100 Pages: 226
“There are people in the world for whom ‘coming along’ is a perpetual process, people who are destined never to arrive.”
James Baldwin is a favorite author of mine and this is one of few works I haven’t read. His prose in Go Tell It on the Mountain is portraying humans caught in dramatic struggle amidst a society confronting inevitable change. The book was published in 1952 but the words and visceral emotion feel like 2020.
As with much of his work, Baldwin covers a multitude of topics including race, religion, sex, and coming of age. The beginning and ending of the book follow John, a fourteen-year-old stepson of a self-righteous minister struggling with his identity both sexually and communally. The middle of the novel takes place in a church, with John experiencing an act of piety, as well as the inner lives of his stepfather, aunt, and mother.
His prose is absolutely devastating, delivering a portrayal of characters living in a nation that is hostile to their very existence. The character development is masterful and his use of repetition continually makes you consider things. As with the rest of Baldwin’s books I’ve read, his words continue to resonate with me long after I’ve read them. .
“But to look back from the stony plain along the road which led one to that place is not at all the same thing as walking on the road; the perspective to say the very least, changes only with the journey; only when the road has, all abruptly and treacherously, and with an absoluteness that permits no argument, turned or dropped or risen is one able to see all that one could not have seen from any other place.”