I said once that if I could just read one author, I’d choose Baldwin because he wrote plays, non-fiction and fiction. Boy, did I underestimate him. There are letters, reviews, forwords and afterwords, letters, etc. in here, and so I am grateful for and grateful that I found this collection.
I think in this era when so many people are being introduced to Baldwin because of his ideas, it can be easy to forget what an amazing writer he is. His sentences are so packed full and syntactically interesting that I read some more than once just to enjoy the sound of them. At one point, he even mocks himself by calling one of his sentences “undisciplined.” I think it’s the only one.
So read this, both for the urgency of the ideas it contains and to read a master essayist at work.
Oh, and keep a notepad by your side. When Baldwin recommends that you read something, you’re going to want to read it.