Unfortunately, Another Country is not Baldwin at his best. In fact, it's possibly the most frustrating novel I've ever read. Here, Baldwin is so determined to explode the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality and judging by the variety of sexual relationships on display here, he must have plotted those intersections on graph paper before sitting down to write that he makes a fatal mistake: instead of being particularly insightful or even shocking, Another Country is preachy, sentimental, and, worst of all, boring.
Rufus Scott is a young black man who makes his living playing drums in Harlem jazz clubs. When we first meet Rufus, he is wandering the streets, suffering from guilt over his treatment of Leona, a woman we later meet through flashbacks. Leona's and Rufus's relationship is based on a shared self-loathing: he feels unworthy of the love of a white woman; she has known only brutal relationships, having come to New York after escaping from an abusive marriage in the South. Rufus's brutality eventually sends her to an asylum, an event that plagues Rufus, leading him to jump from the George Washington bridge at the end of chapter one. The remainder of the novel charts the effects of Rufus's suicide on the lives of those closest to him.
The most interesting relationship is... [continues]
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