If you haven’t yet discovered Going to Meet the Man, by social critic and writer, James Baldwin, a classic collection of eight stories first published in 1965, what are you waiting for?
A compilation of prose that tackles the rhythmic melodies of jazz to the horrific imagery of lynching and white supremacy, it showcases how people’s earliest experiences, can impact their lives.
Going to Meet the Man delves deep into a realm of issues that many of us can still relate to today. The collection deals with some tough themes. From sexuality to drug addiction in popular stories The Outing and Sonny’s Blues, it’s evident that James aim was not about trying to please, but rather to provide society with a reality check.
However, it’s the collections titular story, Going to Meet the Man, that triggers the most enraging emotions. The story revolves around a deputy sheriff whose sexual repression is paradoxically steeped in racial violence. While pondering his inability to perform during sexual intercourse with his wife, the protagonist, a perfect example of a complete paradox, begins to get excited as he recalls the first time he watched the horrific mutilation and lynching of a black man.
Beautifully and soulfully written, James is able to bring his readers along with him through his writing. One minute there’s anger, the next you feel sadness and just before you can fully invest in your sorrow, disgust swoops in and tugs further on your feelings.
This is not a light-hearted, frivolous book. James’s vivid imagery and eloquent descriptions grab you from the get go. As you would expect from one of the most talented, and acclaimed writers of all time, James leaves his readers with a maelstrom of emotions and perhaps a different perspective on race and racial violence.