by James Baldwin
James Baldwin's stunning first novel is now an American classic. With startling realism that brings Harlem and the black experience vividly to life, this is a work that touches the heart with emotion while it stimulates the mind with its narrative style, symbolism, and excoriating vision of racism in America. Moving through time from the rural South to the northern ghetto, starkly contrasting the attitudes of two generations of an embattles family, Go Tell It On The Mountain is an unsurpassed portrayal of human beings caught up in a dramatic struggle and of a society confronting inevitable change.
"The most important novel written about the American Negro," says Commentary. "It is written with poetic intensity and great narrative skill," writes Harper's. Saturday Review praises it as "masterful," and the San Francisco Chronicle declares that this important American novel is "brutal, objective and compassionate."
Go Tell It on the Mountain is filled with biblical references that evoke the spirit of the black church and a realism that brings to life the Harlem of the 1930s, a northern ghetto whose inhabitants were still struggling with southern demons. Baldwin, in a 1984 interview with the Paris Review, captured what he was trying to say in the novel about all of us and about his own life: "[Writing Go Tell It on the Mountain] was an attempt to exorcise something, to find out what happened to my father, what happened to all of us, what had happened to me and how we were to move from one place to another." Its brilliant style and sophisticated portrait of a young man struggling with complex issues made this one of the landmark novels of the postwar period.
In 1953, a young James Baldwin published Go Tell It on the Mountain, winning acclaim as a literary star and one of the leading voices of the African-American experience. Although Baldwin would spend the bulk of his adult life in France, his writing always addressed the complexities at the heart of America, viewed through the lens of the consummate outsider.
Paperback: 221 pages