Another Country by James Baldwin

Another Country

Another Country by James Baldwin

Published by: Dial Press in 1962 (original publication)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

In the 1950s, liberalism took a different form than it does today. For many, rejecting the norm and what was proper meant possibilities. For others, it wasn’t subversive–it was just who they were. But society didn’t do anyone any favors. Race, sexuality, and class weren’t areas where there was much room for latitude or forgiveness.

Another Country follows a group of friends who try to navigate this environment while seeking truths about themselves. What does it mean to be an artist? How does one know when their life is fulfilled? Are they really universal truths in life? All questions with no easy answers. But over the course of several months the characters wrestle with them in search of some truth.

Glimpses of history are always very interesting to me. And here James Baldwin gives us just that. And not only is this book a window into the time period, he wrote it at a time when these weren’t the kinds of things people regularly wrote about. So the book itself goes against convention by telling the story of people who went against convention. It’s a bit meta, but it’s also really well written and engaging.