Giovanni’s room | James Baldwin 

Fear and self-loathing in the Parisian demi-monde. A bitter tale of treachery, squalor and shattered illusions as an doomed love affair disintegrates; no pride or glamour or rainbow-tinged warm fuzzies in Baldwin’s gay Paris. It’s about the impossibility of two men achieving lasting love within the confines of conventional (ie toxic) masculinity on one level; the alternative – the rent boys, queens and predators that frequent the bars – disgusts the main character. There was never going to be a happy ending – we know how the story ends from the start – nor is there any redemption. A bleak read, but Baldwin writes to enlighten rather than entertain, and that he does.