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Going to Meet the Man: Stories (1965)

by James Baldwin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9451622,403 (4.23)96
Fiction. Short Stories. "There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it." The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories, as told by James Baldwin, detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their heads above water. It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist uses to face the terror of pouring his life into an inanimate instrument. It may be the brittle piety of a father who can never forgive his son for his illegitimacy. Or it may be the screen of bigotry that a redneck deputy has raised to blunt the awful childhood memory of the day his parents took him to watch a black man being murdered by a gleeful mob.… (more)
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» See also 96 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Unforgettable short stories that paint a portrait of mid 20th century race relations . This portrait, stark and difficult to look at, is richly hewn from the thoughts and interactions of the characters. Some stories were sad, such as "Sonny's Blues", others surprising, such as "Man Child", and others, disturbing ...most notably "Going to Meet the Man".
This collection may have themes and images that will sear your brain make you shudder, but it will also make you think and search your soul. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Apr 11, 2024 |
8 adult short stories.
  VillageProject | Dec 14, 2023 |
It was seemingly Baldwin’s life purpose to write these books about blacks and their outrageous treatment by whites.

Baldwin died in 1987. He described the condition and treatment of blacks in the US as he had experienced them. I trust that all this has greatly improved since then, but I can’t be certain.

In Baldwin’s prose the n-word is used continually. Surprisingly, the blacks themselves use it about and to each other – “You dirty black n-----”.

This collection of short stories is the best fiction of Baldwin’s that I’ve read.

I didn’t understand The Man Child and the reason for the murder at the end.

I would really need to re-read the stories to properly appreciate them.

Understandably, most of Baldwin’s writing expresses the brutality he saw among the blacks in Harlem where he lived.

In my view, the best story in collection was the last one, Going to meet the man. It was also the most terrible. It shows how a little white boy, Jesse, taken to witness the lynching of a black man, grows up to to be a deputy sheriff who beats and tortures his black prisoners practically to the point of death. “They were animals, they were no better than animals, what could be done with people like that?”

The lynching itself is depicted graphically and horribly.

If you feel like beginning to read some of Baldwin’s fiction, this is a good place to start. ( )
  IonaS | Aug 29, 2023 |
Classic adult fiction
  VillageProject | May 23, 2023 |
Whew! I've put off reading Baldwin - having 1st heard of him as much as 35 yrs ago. This was everything I expected it to be.. & more. I was expecting devastating looks at American racism & that was certainly there - esp in the sickening title story. But there's much, much more. The sensitiveness of the language is on a par w/ Nabokov. There were so many points that I cd relate to. Baldwin articulates everything in such a clear-headed way - he makes the characters so easy to feel - even the horrific ones. I doubt that I'll ever say anything about Baldwin that hasn't already been sd by many others - so I'm just glad to be able to add my small voice to those who've praised him.

Each of these 8 stories is significantly different - while still sharing realism. It was the fictional realism that contributed to my putting off the reading. It seems that in fiction I prefer transcendent formal absurdist imagination to realism & wd rather just read political essays when it comes time to take a hard look at the hard subjects of racism & human nature.. BUT, that sd, thank goodness for Baldwin b/c he says what oh-so-desperately-needs-to-be-sd in the fictional form that's likely to reach the most people - & I reckon he's as famous as he is b/c he did it so well.

AGAIN, sensitive, sensitive, sensitive: I 'liked' it all (if the word 'liked' can be used in reference to the stories of terrifying cruelty & brutality), I felt it all. There was "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon" - a black American has the good sense & the good fortune to go to France where he becomes a reknowned singer & actor - like so many black American jazz musicians did - to the shame of a country traditionally oblivious to & hateful to culture. This story covers so much: simple personal things like love w/in a family, the main character's relationship to the white French director who's had more than his own share of tragedy, the French mistreatment of an African aquaintance, the subtle difficulties of black American tourists in relation to the latter in relation to the main character in relation to the director in relation to France in relation to the US. All handled beautifully. ( )
  tENTATIVELY | Apr 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
All of these tales have an undeniable urgency, power and anger, yet only "The Outing" achieves true artistry, probably because it is the most personal and not melodramatic at all. Symphonic in structure, mixing religious and sexual motifs, encompassing various shades of characters and situations against the background of a boat trip up the Hudson, "The Outing" is memorable in every sense; funny, sad, colorful, it is a triumphant performance.
added by Lemeritus | editKirkus Review (Jun 15, 1965)
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Baldwinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Graham, DionNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for Beauford Delaney
First words
THE ROCKPILE

Across the street from their house, in an empty lot between two houses, stood the rockpile.
Quotations
All I know about music is that not many people really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours. I just watched Sonny's face. (Sonny's Blues)
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Fiction. Short Stories. "There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it." The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories, as told by James Baldwin, detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their heads above water. It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist uses to face the terror of pouring his life into an inanimate instrument. It may be the brittle piety of a father who can never forgive his son for his illegitimacy. Or it may be the screen of bigotry that a redneck deputy has raised to blunt the awful childhood memory of the day his parents took him to watch a black man being murdered by a gleeful mob.

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Contents:
  • The Rockpile
  • The Outing
  • The Man Child
  • Previous Condition
  • Sonny’s Blues
  • This Morning, This Evening, So Soon
  • Come Out the Wilderness
  • Going to Meet the Man
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