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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1962, this is an emotionally intense novel of love, hatred, race, and liberal America in the 1960s, taking on the then-taboo themes of interracial couples, bisexuality, and extramarital affairs. Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, Another Country tells the story of the suicide of jazz-musician Rufus Scott and the friends who search for an understanding of his life and death, discovering uncomfortable truths about themselves along the way. Another Country is a work that is as powerful today as it was 40 years ago - and expertly narrated by Dion Graham.
©1990 Gloria Baldwin Karefa-Smart (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    251
  • 4 Stars
    88
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    52
  • 2 Stars
    17
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    15

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    79
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    28
  • 2 Stars
    7
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    6

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    51
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kenneth
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 04-10-09

Powerful and sad

In this novel Baldwin presents a realistic portrait of artistic young people in New York in the early 1960s. The most compelling character, the tormented black musician Rufus, is alive for only the first portion of the book, yet he casts his shadow over everything. Baldwin shows how even well-meaning whites who try to create friendship or love across the racial barrier often have no idea of the emotional sorrow they are up against or the further sorrow they may inadvertently cause. This novel also explores the conflicts that can arise among a group of struggling artists when one of their number becomes successful. As well, the novel includes some frank but well-written sex scenes, including homosexual encounters. Some may find this novel overly dark and full of conflict. Certainly, it is not a light or cheerful book, but it is an important work.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara
  • Durham, NC, United States
  • 10-02-10

Don't Expect Sweetness and Light

I first read this book in the early 70s at the behest of a friend who was trying to explain what it was like to be black and gay. I was overwhelmed by the beauty, the delicacy and the anger of Baldwin's words. I knew I would never forget how much pain and loneliness was part of that life. Baldwin's people were well delineated, but the plot was missing an ending.

Hearing this book now, instead of reading, made the book as fresh as the first time I read it. Despite any faults inherent in the novel, I still recommend this book and looking past those faults into the heart of a nab who he felt he didn't belong.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tragic, beautifully tragic with a touch of hope

Where does Another Country rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Another Country ranks as the best James Baldwin audiobook I have listened to so far. It felt like Baldwin was speaking directly to me. He was ahead of his time and hos book is still relevant with its discussions on race, sex, and identity. The freshness of his prose was like jazz to me ears.

What other book might you compare Another Country to and why?

Other books I compared Another Country to are Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain and Giovanni's Room. Baldwin's jazzy writing style in Another Country rocked and rattled me. Of the three books, I found this to be the most relevant and accessible to me because of the questions the characters struggled with.

Which scene was your favorite?

Rufus Scott's slow descent into suicide when he jumped off the George Washington Bridge riveted me because Baldwin made me feel his pain and isolation. I have been there myself. Rufus' death early in the book sets off a chain of events that impacted his family and friends who had to deal with the aftermath. Even though he was not present for four-fifths of the book, he exerted a ghost presence on all.

Who was the most memorable character of Another Country and why?

Once again, Rufus was the most memorable character in Another Country. Had James Baldwin not moved to Paris, he would have turned out like Rufus. Had I not moved to San Francisco, I would have turned out like Rufus, too. There are some places and circumstances that are too toxic for personal and spiritual growth.A person implodes if a way out is not found.

Any additional comments?

Dion Graham gives a masterful performance. He portrays African American, Southerner, Puerto Rican, and French accents with skill and craft. His performance made for a rich listening experience.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Reality in its purest form

This is a beautiful piece by Baldwin. So tainted that it is perfect. The narrator does a great job inflecting and changing pitches to keep the listener interested. hopefully Amazon will catch on and start using these voices for the text to speech option in Kindle! Great book, great audio, highly recommended.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the great novels of the 1960s

This brave, insightful novel has improved with age. James Baldwin should have received a Nobel Prize, but these honors don't always shake out where they are most deserved. Race, sexuality and national identity here scrutinized here as nowhere else in literature.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Another Country

My second read of James Baldwin at sixty six year of age I wonder why I missed this for so long. I will quench my thrust with more and more. I normally do not read friction. Thank you.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • T Cyr
  • Missoula, MT United States
  • 07-24-13

Outstanding Audio Book in Every Way

What did you love best about Another Country?

This story is as powerful and provocative today as it was when it was first written. Baldwin paints a brilliant picture with his words filled with color and emotions, like listening to an extraordinary jazz piece. Graham add such vibrant life to the characters and creates a mood that often becomes hypnotic and memorizing. I was captivated from the first paragraph to the last word uttered. I was familiar with Baldwin from reading his other works some 30 years earlier. How did I ever miss this one? It's his masterpiece of vision and masterful story telling of an era long lost.

This is not a novel for everyone, has themes of strong sexual situations, racism, and the violent nature of lost souls. But it's all the things l love that define the human condition.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 05-08-18

Offering A Different Opinion--

Another Country is supposed to be a classic, one which exposes the worst parts of ourselves, the worst parts of our society and culture. Well, it does expose the worst, and that's the problem. There's no good to be found anywhere.
It starts off aimless, but well-written. Then it devolves into the most mean-spirited, back-biting melodrama imaginable. There are relationships everywhere: platonic, lovers, you name it. But there's no love or respect to be had anywhere. I came away wondering why on earth these people even talked to each other let alone had sex with each other. The few times a character showed enough insight, somebody else basically trashed them.
I really wondered what I was missing, so I researched common takeaways from the book. Rufus is supposed to be self-hatred due to the internalization of racism, and that's why he mistreats the white people who care for him. He's supposed to be a Christ figure.
Uhm, sorry. He just seemed like the poster boy for mental illness to me the way he and his actions, his thoughts, were written. And the whole story hinges on how everybody, each character deems his memory to be sacred, his loss a travesty.
Dion Graham does an okay job with narration, but there's plenty of off-key singing, and plenty of venom spewed, so this was pretty hard to listen to.
I go into each book I purchase, especially something considered a classic, expecting to give it 5-stars. It's usually mildly disappointing to go down a star or two, but it's downright heartbreaking and mind-boggling to come away knowing that a purchase merited a single star. But believe me: With Another Country, x1.5 speed wasn't fast enough to get me away from some mean and petty characters.
No beauty, no wisdom to be found in the brutality. Perhaps it's meant as a reflection of our society, but I don't know. In real life, there are still friendships to be found, and maybe even a little, even just a tiny bit of love to be nurtured.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

True life takes

I have never read a book so chillingly close to the messiness of real life. Thought provoking, confronting reflections on the lives of people we see walking by everyday.
How complex love,friendship and hate.
Loved it.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

boring.....................

this book is just boring, it drones on and puts me to sleep... did I say BORING, YES

1 of 2 people found this review helpful