This is great, because he has over 20 novels, plays, and collections of short stories and essays. As he is in the hospital he thinks back on episodes of his life, in non-chronological order. After having sex for the first time Barbara tells Leo: "I know what I am doing. Three and a half stars? I've been reading a lot of James Baldwin this year and this is the first book that I've felt was too long (by about 200 pages). The moments of regret and warmth, the fights with loved ones that almost broke you, but ended up bringing you closer when you survived them. This structure made the writing a little choppy. He was a black, gay man who grew up in a working class family in Harlem and became an internationally renowned author and fighter for civil rights. It is tempting to choose Baldwin himself (or his biography at least) as the classic read. Refresh and try again. Submit your short stories for review as a Word document attached to an email to: Read@Short-Story.Me I thought that his love affairs were particularly uninteresting. Engaging enough to read all 484 pages in 8 days during the school year. A look back at the life and struggles of Leo Proudhammer, as he recuperates from a near-fatal heart attack. James Baldwin talks to a part of my soul like no other writer. A deeply frustrating read at times, due to some serious navel-gazing, which makes sense for a protagonist of this sort, but is ultimately mostly unrewarding for the reader. Best collection of short stories on the internet grows daily. It is a book that is angry and tender and also hopeful. We're invited to draw parallels between the roles a black man of this era is limited to in life and in the world of the performing arts. I think if I had been a different person, maybe interested in theater or film, or if I had a brother, maybe that deeper connection would have been made. Few writers have the capacity to make me fall in love, and to break my heart, and Baldwin does it best. But this is not the kind of support through love that Hollywood and Disney have got us used to. Try not to get too dispirited by this fact. There is an sexual relationship with his older brother that is touched upon but never explored. But that doesn't affect their feelings about each other nearly as much as it affects their ability to be together in socie. I picked up this book after a long period of reading either non-fiction or science fiction and fantasy. I recognized this as love—recognized it very quietly and, for the first time, without fear. Leo is a famous, black, bisexual stage actor who has just had a serious heart attack. All of us who are doing the same should read his beautiful words. My life, that desperately treacherous labyrinth, seemed for a moment to be opening out behind me; a light seemed to fall where there had been no light before. I feel Leo's written pretty inconsistently, especially with regard to his inner dialogue with his awareness as a politicized subject. An ocean of language. This novel doesn’t fall short of his voice, obviously. Read other prize winning stories from older contests in our Hall of Fame. I am not sure if it would be my recommendation as s. Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone is a touching exploration of what it means to be black and bisexual and a man and searching for your purpose in America. Leo reflects regularly on the difficulties of real solidarity. It is not a silent love, which magically hides the violence of an unequal world. 1968 work I judge to be one of his best novels, Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone. From the album "BD Music Present a Gospel Story" by The Charioteers on Napster The fact that she and he are both famous actors affects their love story about as much as their racial difference. Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (Vintage International) - Kindle edition by Baldwin, James. Upon starting it, I soon found myself pulled in. I have read three of his books so far and have made a promise to read every word he has ever written. As a young boy in a working class neighbourhood he faces daily racism from bigots and white liberals alike. "Sonny's Blues" (1957) is a story written by James Baldwin, originally published in Partisan Review.The story contains the recollections of a black algebra teacher in 1950s Harlem as he reacts to his brother Sonny's drug addiction, arrest, and recovery. No novel has made me laugh so genuinely or feel such anguish. It's definitely not an easy book to read and I will need to recover with lighter books for some time. And though written in the late 60s, it still feels timely. “Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone” by James Baldwin tells the story of Leo Proudhammer, a successful African American actor who grew up in Harlem. You won’t be able to tell which platform. The novel replies to that false claim by illustrating just how vicious and oppressive White America’s racism really is and what intolerably unfair odds have been overcome by those rare cases of exceptional achievement, Not my favorite James Baldwin, but still highly engaging. I was most engaged reading Baldwin's portrait of this biracial couple at one point living up in upstate NY and seeing others' reactions which made me think about my own relationship and how difficult it would have been 60 years ago. From this gentle piece of absurdism, he switches suddenly and brutally to the point: there was no border as sharp and dangerou, Early in this novel, Baldwin devotes a few pages to a humorous comparison of the ways French, Swiss and Italian border guards behave: the French being rude and inefficient, the Swiss intensely serious, efficient and systematic, the Italians rather surprised that one had bothered to visit their country but delighted all the same and not remotely concerned about the rules. “It’s confusing there. That there is. This structure made the writing a little choppy. The memories jump forward and back in time, as memories do, but not too drastically, and they are treated with that sort of painful, bittersweet nostalgia that one feels when looking back at those defining moments in one's life. The book is set in no one place, but rather is a retelling of Proudhammer’s life, from his childhood in the ghettos of Harlem to the bright city stages. It was almost as though Baldwin had, early on, said "I've got something you need to hear. From this gentle piece of absurdism, he switches suddenly and brutally to the point: there was no border as sharp and dangerous as the demarcation between the Black and the White segments of an American town or city. I appreciated Proudhammer's strong sense of identity, never seeming to doubt himself nor whom he loved as a Black, bi. Baldwin can take a cast of characters on a journey without a solid plot and create a fire. The narration by Kevin Kenerly of the audiobook was excellent. I preferred the parts of the book that dealt with the theater, but the parts about Leo's childhood in Harlem felt like I'd read them before in o. Leo is a famous, black, bisexual stage actor who has just had a serious heart attack. Unlock This Study Guide Now. Once locked out, one will never again be forced to encounter in the eyes of a stranger who loves him the impenetrable truth concerning the stranger, oneself, who is loved. Leo is an old successful man reflecting/ remembering his life from younger brother in Harlem to accomplished actor. Now, that doesn't mean shit, really, and yet it means everything." This event creates the present tense setting for the novel, which is mostly narrated in retrospect, explaining each relationship with a story from the actor's life. Its safe to say that i have fallen deeply in love with James Baldwin and I have been brought back safely to novel-land. In Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone Baldwin tells the story of Leo Proudhammer's life from his youth in Harlem to his rise to fame as an actor. Similarly, the relationships with Barbara and Christopher aren't fully developed and had me inferring. Tell Me is the story of an angry black man, and his friends and lovers, fighting their way through a fucked up world. Welcome back. This was not one of my favorite Bladwin books but the beauty and craftsmanship of how these words are place together keeps you reading to the very end. Start by marking “Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone” as Want to Read: Error rating book. Everyone wishes to be loved, but, in the event, nearly no one can bear it. ", The back of this book makes it out to be the life story of a black actor who rises to greatness, but is "torn between two different kinds of love". I was aware of my breathing. In this novel, just like Another Country, I saw parts of myself in many of the characters, which is a talent that cannot be scaled. It is a book that is as important for us to read now as it was in 1968. With regard to his inner dialogue with his older brother that is angry and tender and hopeful! 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