Read it once, read it twice: does that make it twice as nice? James Baldwin’s Nothing Personal has to be read more than twice, the spare sentences, the far less than spare thoughts and beliefs aren’t absorbed like a Brawny towel absorbs a spill. And he’s not around to talk with us about his despair, his cynicism; we can only ask and tell ourselves. Baldwin’s message has a timeless quality, it will never date. The foreword and afterthought in this small book are necessary as buffers and as unequivocal tributes to one of the twentieth century’s finest writers.
Even if times they are a-changing, black and white remained the divide that (may I pun?) colored Baldwin’s life? But he alludes also to the division among those who afford the time to lavish love on their children, his irrevocable recognition ‘that Amor Vincit Omnia.’
Imani Perry sets the stage beautifully, writing in the time of Covid, not the time of Baldwin. Eddie Glaude Jr. brings the essay another step, an invitation to think more deeply: his afterword is not a conclusion. Both notable, respected academic people of color, their words are meaningful and valued. Baldwin is a hard act to follow.
|Page Count||104 pages|
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