Books: Milk Run

TELL ME HOW LONG THE TRAIN'S BEEN GONE by James Baldwin. 484 pages. Dial. $5.95.

There are two James Baldwins, equally passionate, at times equally gifted. One is the racial rhetorician, the polished pamphleteer, the literate prophet who warned about The Fire Next Time long before the words, "Burn, baby, burn" raged in the land. His preachments remain intensely articulate, painfully—and plainly—relevant.

The other James Baldwin is the questing novelist, the private man loaded down with personal problems that he must defeat—or be defeated by. This is the Baldwin who with his first novel,...

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