From one of the most important writers of the twentieth century comes a stunning love story about a young Black woman whose life is torn apart when her lover is wrongly accused of a crime—"a moving, painful story, so vividly human and so obviously based on reality that it strikes us as timeless” (The New York Times Book Review).
"One of the best books Baldwin has ever written—perhaps the best of all.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad.
Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and is imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions—affection, despair, and hope.
In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.
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“Narrator Bahni Turpin’s delivery heightens the raw power of his storytelling…Turpin brings nineteen-year-old Tish to life, capturing all her pain and hope with edginess and unflagging energy…Turpin differentiates between the narrative and the character’s dialogue and actions through a masterful variety of tones and inflections. The result lifts Tish from the static page and brings her into the room.”
“The author is best known for arguing that emotional connection could help heal America’s racial divides. But his 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk focused instead on the bonds that held black people together.”
— Atlantic magazine
“A moving, painful story. It is so vividly human and so obviously based on reality that it strikes us as timeless.”
— New York Times Book Review
“In his lesser-known 1974 novel If
Beale Street Could Talk…insidious injustices are an inescapable part of everyday life—a truth the
personal experience of which shaped Baldwin’s writing, propelling his evolution into a major voice for civil rights.”
“Striking and particularly haunting…[with] a beauty, especially in its rendering of youthful passion.”
“One of the best books Baldwin has ever written—perhaps the best of all.”
— Philadelphia Inquirer
“A major work of black American fiction.”
— New Republic
“Well worth listening to.”
“Existing perfectly as an essential work of its time and a timeless work of human truth and equally timeless American racism, Beale Street contains more compelling characters, more dynamic love of New York than you can find on any debut fiction shelf.”
— Paris Review
“Emotional dynamite… a powerful assault upon the cynicism that seems today to drain our determination to confront deep social problems.”
— Library Journal
“Possesses a genuinely sweet and free spirit.”
— Kirkus Reviews
A New York Times Bestseller
A Publishers Weekly Pick of the #1 Most Anticipated Book-to-Film Adaptation of 2018
A Paris Review Selection by Staff
An Audible Editors Top Pick of Books That Make the Best Movies
A Washington Post Best Book of 2018 for Book-to-Screen Adaptation
An iBooks bestseller in Audiobooks
An Essence Magazine Pick of Most Impactful Black Books of the Last 50 Years
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About James Baldwin
James Baldwin (1924–1987), acclaimed New York Times bestselling author, was educated in New York. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, received excellent reviews and was immediately recognized as establishing a profound and permanent new voice in American letters. The appearance of The Fire Next Time in 1963, just as the civil rights movement was exploding across the American South, galvanized the nation and continues to reverberate as perhaps the most prophetic and defining statement ever written of the continuing costs of Americans’ refusal to face their own history. It became a national bestseller, and Baldwin was featured on the cover of Time. The next year, he was made a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and collaborated with the photographer Richard Avedon on Nothing Personal, a series of portraits of America intended as a eulogy for the slain Medger Evers. His other collaborations include A Rap on Race with Margaret Mead and A Dialogue with the poet–activist Nikki Giovanni. He also adapted Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X into One Day When I Was Lost. He was made a commander of the French Legion of Honor a year before his death, one honor among many he achieved in his life.
About Bahni Turpin
Bahni Turpin, winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and several prestigious Audie Awards for her narrations, was named a “Golden Voice” by AudioFile magazine in 2019. Publishers Weekly magazine named her Narrator of the Year for 2016. She is an ensemble member of the Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles. She has guest starred in many television series, including NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Six Feet Under, Cold Case, What about Brian, and The Comeback. Film credits include Brokedown Palace, Crossroads, and Daughters of the Dust. She is also a member of the recording cast of The Help, which won numerous awards.