If Beale Street Could Talk

Ebook
0"W x 0"H x 0"D  
On sale Sep 17, 2013 | 208 Pages | 978-0-8041-4967-9
| Grades 9-12 + AP/IB
From one of the most important writers of the twentieth century comes a stunning love story about a young Black woman whose life is torn apart when her lover is wrongly accused of a crime—"a moving, painful story, so vividly human and so obviously based on reality that it strikes us as timeless" (The New York Times Book Review).

"One of the best books Baldwin has ever written—perhaps the best of all." —The Philadelphia Inquirer

Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions—affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.
James Baldwin (1924–1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, appeared in 1953 to excellent reviews, and his essay collections Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time were bestsellers that made him an influential figure in the growing civil rights movement. Baldwin spent much of his life in France, where he moved to escape the racism and homophobia of the United States. He died in France in 1987, a year after being made a Commander of the French Legion of Honor. View titles by James Baldwin

Discussion Guide for If Beale Street Could Talk

Provides questions, discussion topics, suggested reading lists, introductions and/or author Q&As, which are intended to enhance reading groups’ experiences.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

"One of the best books Baldwin has ever written—perhaps the best of all." —The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A moving, painful story, so vividly human and so obviously based on reality that it strikes us as timeless.” —Joyce Carol Oates

"If Van Gogh was our nineteenth-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our twentiethth-century one." —Michael Ondaatje

"Striking and particularly haunting.... A beauty, especially in its rendering of youthful passion." —Cosmopolitan

"A major work of Black American fiction.... His best novel yet, even Baldwin's most devoted readers are due to be stunned by it." —The New Republic

"Emotional dynamite.... A powerful assault upon the cynicism that seems today to drain our determination to confront deep social problems." —Library Journal

"A moving, painful story, so vividly human and so obviously based on reality that it strikes us as timeless." —The New York Times Book Review

About

From one of the most important writers of the twentieth century comes a stunning love story about a young Black woman whose life is torn apart when her lover is wrongly accused of a crime—"a moving, painful story, so vividly human and so obviously based on reality that it strikes us as timeless" (The New York Times Book Review).

"One of the best books Baldwin has ever written—perhaps the best of all." —The Philadelphia Inquirer

Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions—affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.

Author

James Baldwin (1924–1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, appeared in 1953 to excellent reviews, and his essay collections Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time were bestsellers that made him an influential figure in the growing civil rights movement. Baldwin spent much of his life in France, where he moved to escape the racism and homophobia of the United States. He died in France in 1987, a year after being made a Commander of the French Legion of Honor. View titles by James Baldwin

Guides

Discussion Guide for If Beale Street Could Talk

Provides questions, discussion topics, suggested reading lists, introductions and/or author Q&As, which are intended to enhance reading groups’ experiences.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Praise

"One of the best books Baldwin has ever written—perhaps the best of all." —The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A moving, painful story, so vividly human and so obviously based on reality that it strikes us as timeless.” —Joyce Carol Oates

"If Van Gogh was our nineteenth-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our twentiethth-century one." —Michael Ondaatje

"Striking and particularly haunting.... A beauty, especially in its rendering of youthful passion." —Cosmopolitan

"A major work of Black American fiction.... His best novel yet, even Baldwin's most devoted readers are due to be stunned by it." —The New Republic

"Emotional dynamite.... A powerful assault upon the cynicism that seems today to drain our determination to confront deep social problems." —Library Journal

"A moving, painful story, so vividly human and so obviously based on reality that it strikes us as timeless." —The New York Times Book Review

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