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Novel by James Baldwin, published in 1956, about the conflict in the sexual identity of a young expatriate American in Paris. After a single homosexual experience in adolescence, David represses his unacceptable impulses. In Paris, he meets Hella Lincoln. He is determined to live the life that he thinks is expected of a male in white, middle-class Western culture. He and Hella have an affair, and David proposes marriage. While Hella is in Spain considering his proposal, David has an affair lasting several months with Giovanni, an Italian bartender. Still unable to reconcile homosexuality with the life he envisions for himself, David rejects Giovanni. David and Hella go to the south of France. She finds him in a homosexual bar with a sailor and realizes what David's relationship with Giovanni had been. David is left alone, abandoned by Hella, and still in conflict over his sexuality.

Source: The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature, April 1, 1995

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