i had been both looking forward to and dreading reading this book for a long time. i was dreading it because i've only read one thing written by baldwin before (another country) and so loved it that i was afraid of reading another of his books. i was looking forward to it for the same reason, with hope and expectation. i'm so relieved to say that not only was i not disappointed, but i was exhilarated reading this. his writing is truly beautiful, and his story - the passion and the pain of the main character - was both riveting and gut wrenching. all of it, this was a wonderful read. i only wish that i was reading it in a better frame of mind, that i could have had the time and mental capacity to sit and really savor this book, because it deserves it. and i would have enjoyed it even more if i'd been able to do that. it's a short, easy, flowing read that shouldn't take much time at all; i'm already looking forward to reading it again.his story is about a man trying to come to terms with his homosexual feelings, but it doesn't have to be about just that. it's about anything that we lie to ourselves about; it's about how we judge others for the life they lead; it's about how we think of home and what home is to us; it's about how we hurt those we love intentionally and unintentionally. it's about so many thing as well as being an exploration of homosexuality in the 50's. i loved this book.a quote i kept coming back to, as i'm working through issues of grief:"Perhaps everybody has a garden of Eden, I don't know; but they have scarcely seen their garden before they see the flaming sword. Then, perhaps, life only offers the choice of remembering the garden or forgetting it. Either, or: it takes strength to remember, it takes another kind of strength to forget, it takes a hero to do both. People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence; and the world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget. Heroes are rare.""'Somebody,' said Jacques, 'your father or mine, should have told us that not many people have ever died of love. But multitudes have perished, and are perishing every hour - and in the oddest places! - for the lack of it.'""'Ah!' she said, 'men may be at the mercy of women - I think men like that idea, it strokes the misogynist in them. But if a particular man is ever at the mercy of a particular woman - why, he's somehow stopped being a man. And the lady, then, is more neatly trapped than ever.'"