If Beale Street Could Talk

If Beale Street Could Talk

by James Baldwin
4.6 15

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If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Like the blues—sweet, sad and full of truth— this masterly work of fiction rocks us with powerful emotions. In it are anger and pain, but above all, love—affirmative love of a woman for her man, the sustaining love of a black family. Fonny, a talented young artist, finds himself unjustly arrested and locked in New York's infamous tombs. But his girlfriend, Tish, is determined to free him, and to have his baby... a starkly realisitic tale... and a powerful endictment of American concepts of justice and punishment in our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440340607
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/01/1985
Pages: 213
Product dimensions: 4.12(w) x 6.74(h) x 0.62(d)

About the Author

James Baldwin was born in 1924 and educated in New York. He is the author of more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Go Tell It on the Mountain; Notes of a Native Son; Giovanni’s Room; Nobody Knows My Name; Another Country; The Fire Next Time; Nothing Personal; Blues for Mister Charlie; Going to Meet the Man; The Amen Corner; Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone; One Day When I Was Lost; If Beale Street Could Talk; The Devil Finds Work; Little Man, Little Man; Just Above My Head; The Evidence of Things Not Seen; Jimmy’s Blues; and The Price of the Ticket. Among the awards he has received are a Eugene F. Saxon Memorial Trust Award, a Rosenwald Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Partisan Review Fellowship, and a Ford Foundation grant. He was made a Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1986. He died in 1987.

Date of Birth:

August 2, 1924

Date of Death:

December 1, 1987

Place of Birth:

New York, New York

Place of Death:

St. Paul de Vence, France


DeWitt Clinton High School, New York City

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If Beale Street Could Talk 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AK95 More than 1 year ago
Mr. Baldwin creates in "If Beale Street Could Talk" a harrowing account of a pregnant teenager trying to get her wrongly imprisoned boyfriend out of jail. This book is at times tender (when you get to see the two main characters, Tish and Fonny, interact), it's at times funny, and in other places it can be daunting due to the unchanging lens Mr. Baldwin chooses to use to tell the reader of this terrible time. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to read a high quality piece of fiction written in a first person account.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I chose this book to read for summer reading. It was different from anything I've read before. I thought that this book was bad, but after thinking about it, it isn't. It takes you into the hard life of Tish and makes you realize the difficulties the characters had. It's slow in some places, but overall a pretty good book. I would recomend it to others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only other book I'd read by James Balwin was Go Tell it on the Mountain. But it was an assigned reading in middle school, and I couldn't relate nor understand it. But when I read If Beale Street Could Talk, I cannot tell you how much i fell in love with it. It is simply hardbreakingly beautiful. The story is of a young black couple, Tish and Fonny, living in early 1970s Harlem. Told through the eyes of Tish, you see the harshness of the times they live in: the racism, the brutality of prison, the pathetic ways of which our people have been treated. It is heartbreaking because of this, but it is beautiful because it is essentially a love story. There is love all through the pages of this book. Beneath the tough exteriors and troubles of the characters, there is a love so raw and real, it cannot be beaten down by anything. Anything. I love this novel. I love Baldwin's use of "Black English", anything else just wouldn't have been authentic, and the text is lyrical, almost poetry. His style is truth writen on paper, his work is real. You cannot fault that. I was not able to appreciate his work before but I can tell you that this is one of the most moving pieces of literature that I've read in my eighteen years of living. So if you're a bookworm like myself, I deem it HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! By the way, I plan on rereading Go Tell It on the Mountain!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I resisted reading another problem in the family, however, I immediately related to the highs and lows spirit of the men and womaen of this family issues and values. This book has reminded me of what value and spirit is missing in this so called 'PROGRESSIVE' society, the tenacious spirit that is missing in each of us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was exellent and the characters were like so real. I write on my spare time.It's my #1 hobby and I never had a favorite author who actually inspired me to actually write for a living,but James Baldwin turned that around once my teacher introduced me to his books. And I thought 'HE IS SO TALENTED.' He must be a really fantastic author to write as if he were his charector.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent reading! Always loved Baldwin and this is one of my favorites. Read this in high school, picked it up again as an adult and passed it on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is raw, real, and just right. I read this book in a matter of two days, while attending college and working (guess which one slacked). A must read for everyone...Baldwin is amazing and that is why he is my favorite author of all time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not a big reader, but this book kept me intrigued the entire time. It was difficult to read at first, but once you get going, the style becomes a part of you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the novel at work and wondered if co-workers could read the emotion in my face. Beale street is a historic place in Memphis, the birthplace of the 'blues.' The title clues us into the theme that love is enduring even when 'we got those blues.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
One thing totally remarkable about James Baldwin is the always underlined notion that 'love conquers all'. This book is the epitome of love against the odds. How many loves are lost in this country due to a system that does not condone its existence? A definite must read. Women will look for Fonnys of their own while men will try to emulate his spirit of passion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good book to read for recommendation.