Another species

Maud here. I’m away for a couple of weeks, and my friend Andy is stepping in. I’ve pre-posted some quotations to appear while I’m gone.

From James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room:

“What do you feel in New York?” he asked.

“Perhaps you feel,” I told him, “all the time to come. There’s such power there, everything is in such movement. You can’t help wondering — I can’t help wondering — what it will all be like — many years from now.”

“Many years from now? When we are dead and New York is old?”

“Yes,” I said. “When everyone is tired, when the world — for Americans — is not so new.”

“I don’t see why the world is so new for Americans,” said Giovanni. “After all, you are all merely emigrants. And you did not leave Europe so very long ago.”

“The ocean is very wide,” I said. “We have led different lives than you; things have happened to us there which have never happened here. Surely you can understand that this would make us a different people?”

“Ah! If it had only made you a different people!” he laughed. “But it seems to have turned you into another species. You are not, are you, on another planet? For I suppose that would explain everything.”


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