First he wrote, and first I've read, though I did read The Fire Next Time and Notes of a Native Son previously.
As with his non-fiction, the man's ability to put together a perfect sentence, and then string those sentences together into a heart-stoppingly beautiful paragraph, and then do it again is never not going to amaze me. Same with his insight and how he can pin characters like insects and examine their make up to the minutest level. Everything he says about people feels true to people I've known, even though I've known exactly zero black evangelicals in the 1900s. Someone could probably say something keen about how universal the specifics are, and that someone would probably be Baldwin, it isn't me.
The structure felt a little unbalanced, and I would have liked the last act to be a little longer. We start out following the life of a boy living in New York, then after getting to know him flashback to his parents' generation for most of the rest of the book. What we learn informs how everyone was acting in the first part, but then it never really comes back around and the conclusion is left open (which may be the point). However, each section was very strong on its own merits. I'd like to read at least the first section again to see how it all fit together.
Did anyone else think that the main character had a major crush on the male youth minister? Or was that just me reading in that it was semi-autobiographical?
I'd like to read more of Baldwin's fiction, but am less interested in Sad Gays than I probably should be. Anyone have recs?