The price of the ticket

From The Guardian:

Baldwin_2 In July 1957, an ocean liner set sail from France to New York and on board was the 32-year-old, James Baldwin. Nine years earlier, he had made the reverse journey and left his native New York City for Paris with $40 in his pocket and no knowledge of either France or the French language. He had chosen Paris because his mentor, Richard Wright, was living there, having sought refuge from the demeaning racial politics of his homeland. The young James Baldwin felt that if he was ever going to discover himself as a man and a writer, then he would also have to flee the United States. His exile in France had often been difficult, and was marked by poverty, a period in jail, and at least one suicide attempt, but in the end this opening act of Baldwin’s literary life proved to be triumphantly productive. His first novel, Go Tell it on the Mountain (1953) established his name, and his collection of essays, Notes of a Native Son (1955), and his controversial second novel, Giovanni’s Room (1956), secured his reputation as an important, and fast-rising literary figure.

More here. (When he was alive, I was a Baldwin groupie, and attended many of his readings. He was a mountain.)