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by James Baldwin | Read by Adam Lazarre-White

Baldwin’s first novel, published in 1953, centers around Harlem Pentecostal preacher Gabriel Grimes—his life, family, and congregation. Narrator Adam Lazarre-White does a commendable job portraying the large cast over a long span of time beginning in 1935 in the South and then moving North. Since point of view and time continually shift, his narration helps listeners remain focused. Baldwin's rich description, perhaps the best part of his writing, is enhanced by this thoughtful delivery. Lazarre-White's outstanding characters are high-spirited Florence and mild though determined Elizabeth, who take on the fanatical Gabriel. The novel is a painful, though vitally important, look at black life in a less familiar era by a distinguished African-American author. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine