The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
I originally posted a different review of this book. Two days after finishing it I’m still trying to gather my thoughts into a coherent commentary.
This book includes two separate letters – one to Mr. Baldwin’s nephew. That letter is quite short. The second letter takes up the vast majority of the book, and tells stories of Mr. Baldwin’s experiences in Harlem, in the church, and meeting with the leader of the National of Islam.
A book I read a couple of weeks ago, “Between the World and Me,” has been compared to this, as both authors are black men speaking about their place in the world, their struggles, and the way that people who see themselves as white act. I found myself having a stronger reaction to that book, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the way Mr. Coates writes. Or, perhaps, it’s just not appropriate for anyone – especially me – to consider these books in relation to each other because they come from different times.
I do think it’s a book everyone should read, though. And I’m looking forward to having a discussion about it at book club next month.