Harlem Shuffle (Hardcover)

A Staff Favorite!

Colson Whitehead is a master storyteller as well as turning a genre up on its head. Is there a genre he can't write? He's written about systemic racism and its roots in slavery, satirical zombie horror, and sci fi involving elevators. Here we have a heist book. But is it just a heist book? Nope, of course not, bc it's Colson Whitehead. He takes a classic noir mystery and turns it into a deep character study. It's about how Carney wants to make more for himself and his family and how he justifies these little steps outside of the law. This mystery is filled with humor and more then a little tension as one waits to see, as the years pass, what Carney will do next. Along with that, you get a true sense of Harlem and the rest of NYC in the 1960s, during the birth and rise of the Civil Rights Movement. Be prepared to hold your breath as you follow Carney and his journey deeper into the criminal world as he balances his  family and legit furniture store when all his small missteps escalates into real danger. 

Reviewed by: Audrey H.

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$28.95
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September 2021 Indie Next List


“A love letter to 1960s Harlem that’s also a heist novel, a family saga, and so much more. Colson Whitehead proves once again that he’s always at the top of his game!”
— Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, MA

Description


From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s.

Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked... To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver's Row don't approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it's still home.

Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his fa ade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time.

Cash is tight, especially with all those installment-plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace, Ray doesn't ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweler downtown who doesn't ask questions, either.

Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa--the Waldorf of Harlem--and volunteers Ray's services as the fence. The heist doesn't go as planned; they rarely do. Now Ray has a new clientele, one made up of shady cops, vicious local gangsters, two-bit pornographers, and other assorted Harlem lowlifes.

Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he begins to see who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin, and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs?

Harlem Shuffle's ingenious story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It's a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.

But mostly, it's a joy to read, another dazzling novel from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning Colson Whitehead.

About the Author


Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, which in 2016 won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award and was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, as well as The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. He is also a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships. He lives in New York City. Colson Whitehead is available for select speaking engagements. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau at speakers@ penguinrandomhouse.com or visitwww.prhspeakers.com.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780385545136
ISBN-10: 0385545134
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Pages: 336
Language: English

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