Tell Me how Long the Train's Been Gone

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Dell, Jan 1, 1986 - Fiction - 370 pages
8 Reviews
No other novel of our time strikes so close to the heart of the dilemma of the black artist in America that this contrversial, gripping portrait of a successful actor explosively confronting his angers, his shames, his past, and his passions. From its moving description of a boy growing up in Harlem to its frankly erotic scenes of love that shattered society's conventions, this is a narrative that cries out for social change and hits with hammer blows of truth at the conscience of a nation.

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Review: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone

User Review  - Jeremy - Goodreads

This book goes on and on and on and could have been 100-150 pages shorter without losing much. There were scenes I really enjoyed in this book, and I especially enjoyed the last 50 pages or so, but overall, not my cup of tea. Read full review

Review: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone

User Review  - Annie - Goodreads

I expected so much more from Baldwin. I think this one crumbled under the weight of trying to tackle sexuality, incest, racism, poverty, and institutionalization all at once. And such a promising title. Read full review


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About the author (1986)

James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, in New York. Baldwin's father was a pastor who subjected his children to poverty, abuse, and religious fanaticism. As a result, many of Baldwin's recurring themes, such as alienation and rejection, are attributable to his upbringing. Living the life of a starving artist, Baldwin went through numerous jobs, including dishwasher, office boy, factory worker, and waiter. In 1948, he moved to France, where much work originated. Baldwin published Go Tell It on the Mountain in 1953. A largely autobiographical work, it tells of the religious awakening of a fourteen-year-old. In addition to his childhood experiences, his experiences as a black man and a homosexual provided inspiration for such works as Giovanni's Room, Nobody Knows My Name, and Another Country. Baldwin holds a distinguished place in American history as one of the foremost writers of both black and gay literature. He was an active participant in the Civil Rights movement. Baldwin succumbed to cancer on December 1, 1987.

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