If Beale Street Could Talk

If Beale Street Could Talk

A Novel

Book - 2006
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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.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2006, c2002.
ISBN: 9780307275936
0307275930
9780803741690
0803741693
9780525566120
Characteristics: 197 p. ; 21 cm.
Summary: 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.

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m
Magicworld
Oct 12, 2020

I find it hard to pick the right words to describe If Beale Street Could Talk. I feel that whatever I write won't really do it justice. It's a slim novel but it packs so many emotions - radiant love, rage, confusion, insecurity, fearlessness, despair, hope. It's raw, unflinchingly honest and beautifully written. It makes your heart soar with the love Tish and Fonny feel for each other and your skin crawl with the horrible injustice they face. And above all it manages somehow to remain hopeful - despite the ordeal, the feeling of being trapped, the poverty, the constant social injustice - you can feel its throbbing, fierce spirit that can't be broken. And Baldwin's voice is damn hard to be silenced.

a
alecbussott
Aug 10, 2020

Powerful and necessary

j
jacherin
Jul 21, 2020

Written in 1974, the story continues into today's world. A beautiful, heart breaking love story with a very sad ending. And a very unexpected ending that makes one wonder how these characters could have proceeded in their lives after all of the pain. A reinforcement of Black Lives Matter, this is a must read.

JCLMELODYK Apr 06, 2020

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones would be a great companion read to this James Baldwin classic because it offers a very different take on a relationship disrupted by an unjust incarceration

LPL_IanS Sep 18, 2019

Fonny is unjustly in jail. Tish is pregnant. They’re in love. Have been since they were children. They’re just kids. 22. 19. Her family (and his father) will do everything they can to free him. A clear-eyed look at the impossible strains put on families of color by systemic racism.

Read if you like: stories that unflinchingly look at injustice, family dynamics, heartfelt and lyrical writing

a
amymcnamara1993
Jul 30, 2019

Did not enjoy. Found it difficult to relate to the characters. It seemed obvious that the teenage female narrator was written by a man.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jun 19, 2019

Amazing and powerful...definitely want to circle back around and see the movie. It would be interesting to read this title AND Jones' An American Marriage for a book group and discuss parallels!

Why does the author use Beale Street in the title of a book about New York, when Beale Street is in Memphis? The title even comes from a blues song about Memphis, that goes a bit like this:
"if Beale Street could walk, if Beale Street could talk, married men would have to pack their bags and walk."

s
SF_READER
Mar 16, 2018

Fast and easy read....Can't wait for the movie adaptation

e
Einer2
Sep 06, 2017

A sad commentary on the injustice that exists in the world. Hopefully it is on the reading list of many of our politicians.

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