James Baldwin’s Turkish Decade: Erotics of Exile

Magdalena J. Zaborowska, Author . Duke Univ. $24.95 (379p) ISBN 978-0-8223-4167-3

Covering a neglected period in James Baldwin’s career, his time in Turkey from 1961 (a year after publication of Another Country and two years before The Fire Next Time ) to 1971, Zaborowska follows in the writer’s footsteps to analyze and put into context the significance of this seminal decade. Working by way of Edward Said, she examines a combustible mix of race, exile and gender through Baldwin’s forays in a society that straddles East and West. Zaborowska, an associate professor in American and Afro-American studies at the University of Michigan, combines archival material and interviews with detailed critical interpretations of Another Country ; Baldwin’s little-known theater direction of John Herbert’s Fortune and Men’s Eyes , which was a smash in Turkey; the post-Stonewall No Name in the Street ; and the Chekhov-inspired The Welcome Table . Of central importance is how Baldwin’s so-called Turkish exile helped distance him from, while also focusing, his massive contradictions within a society of contradictions. Somewhat weighing down her text by close readings, Zaborowska otherwise displays the fascinating, delicious thrill she received from the people she interviewed. This is an at times probing but uneven look into Baldwin’s tormented soul and work. 53 illus. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 379 pages - 978-0-8223-4144-4
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