Giovanni’s Room traces one man’s struggle with his sexual identity. In a 1950s Paris swarming with expatriates and characterised by dangerous liaisons and hidden violence, an American finds himself confronting secret desires that jeopardise the conventional life he envisions for himself. After meeting and proposing to a young woman, he falls into a lengthy affair with an Italian bartender and is confounded and tortured as he oscillates between the two.
Now a classic of gay literature, Baldwin’s haunting and controversial second novel is his most sustained treatment of sexuality. Examining the agonising mystery of love and passion in an intensely imagined yet beautifully restrained narrative, Baldwin creates a moving and complex story of death and desire that is revelatory in its insight.