Jonathan Yardley revisits James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, finds a great deal to admire, and notes that the author identified his influences as:

the King James Bible, the rhetoric of the store-front church, something ironic and violent and perpetually understated in Negro speech — and something of Dickens’ love for bravura.

Although it is Baldwin’s essays rather than his fictional works that garner Yardley’s praise, I don’t know of any novelist who has captured tongues-speaking, store-front church Christianity better than Baldwin.

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