“I was in terrible confusion. Sometimes I thought, but this is your life. Stop fighting it. Stop fighting. Or I thought, but I am happy. And he loves me. Sometimes, when he was not near me, I thought, I will never let him touch me again. Then, when he touched me, I thought, it doesn’t matter, it is only the body, it will soon be over. “
Set in the 1950s Paris, Giovanni’s Room is a compact novel that is so dense in emotional nuances of a young American who is involved with both a woman and a man. While his girlfriend Hella travels in Spain, David becomes friends with Giovanni: they connect the instant they meet at a bar. Although Giovanni is very fond of David, but this doesn’t make the American expatriate happy or proud. Instead the liaison makes him frightened and ashamed. Relationship with a man is sordid.
Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven matters? . . . But you can make your time together anything but dirty; you can give each other something which will make both of you better–forever–if you will not be ashamed, if you will only not play it safe. 
Albeit David admits his love for Giovanni, he is holding on to the deceptive consolation that Hella would fulfill his social approbation. With a fearful intimation there opens in him a hatred, which love ironically spawns, for Giovanni, which is as powerful as his love. Giovanni’s Room reveals the spoken complexities of the human heart, toiled between private desire and public expectation. Beleaguered by the pain of one who is caught between desire and conventional morality, David betrays his heart’s feelings.
You want to leave Giovanni because he makes you stink. You want to despise Giovanni because he is not afraid of the stink of love. You want to kill him in the name of all your lying little moralities. And you–you are immoral. 
David keeps fighting Giovanni’s love by sanitizing what has happened between them instead of accepting for what it is. Although David has never lied to him, he has never allowed Giovanni to reach him. Even when he makes love to Giovanni, he treats it as if there is nobody there–he is afraid to wear his heart on his sleeves. He has always been hiding behind the lies that he becomes to believe. Giovanni’s Room is a story of death and passion in its excruciating portrayal of how tragedy justifies true love.
169 pp. [Read/Skim/Toss]
Giovanni’s Room (2006 Review)