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Go Tell it on the Mountain ()

Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (39)

The book is divided into four parts:

Part 1)

John and Roy Grimes are brothers in 1935 Harlem. Their family belongs to the Temple of the Blood Baptized, a Pentecostal church where their Father is a Deacon. Everyone says that John has a "Great future" and might become a "Great Leader of his People", meanwhile he is waiting for the spirit of the Lord to descend upon him. Roy, on the other hand, has begun to get in trouble. Still their father obviously prefers Roy, the bad son, to John, the good son.

Part 2)

Here we flashback to the early adult years of Gabriel Grimes, the boys' father, and his sister Florence, and discover that Gabriel had a bastard son.

Part 3)

Tells the story of Elizabeth Grimes, the boys' mother.  We find out that John is not Gabriel's son.

Part 4)

The book concludes with John taking his rightful place in the Temple, as the Spirit takes him & he goes to the church's "Threshing Floor" & speaks in tongues.

It all makes for a starkly Freudian proceeding; John must confront & triumph over his Father, before taking his place in Society. One assumes it's all autobiographical, perhaps too much so. It ends up being more of a peek inside Baldwin's head than a universal tale.


Grade: (B)


Book-related and General Links:
    -FEATURED AUTHOR: James Baldwin (NY Times Book Review)
    -James Baldwin: An Appreciation (Boston Book Review)
    -James Baldwin: Writing and Resistance
    -James Baldwin: (Some Of) The Life And (Most Of) The Works of James Baldwin
    -James Baldwin and The Man (Review of Fire Next Time--New York Review of Books)
    -Vintage Books Teachers Guide to Fire Next Time
    -Literary Research Guide: James Baldwin (1924 - 1987)
    -REVIEW: James Baldwin: The Risks of Love ÝDARRYL PINCKNEY, NY Review of Books
Ý Ý     James Baldwin: Early Novels and Stories - edited by Toni Morrison