Harlem Shuffle Pdf Summary
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 façade 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.
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Harlem Shuffle Review
4.0 out of 5 stars Not The Heist Story You’re Exoecting
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 19, 2021
When I read Colson Whitehead was writing a heist novel, I was thrilled. Such a great storyteller, I imagined a tale told in the fashion of the late, great Chester Himes, the man who gave us “Cotton Comes To Harlem” “Come Back, Charleston Blue” and “A Rage In Harlem”, books I’d devoured as a teen. But I was also a great fan of Dick Gregory, who did not write heist novels. Gregory wrote passionate tracts on the belittling and desecration of his people, the people of Harlem, and Detroit and Chicago, and of every black community in America. With “Harlem Shuffle”, Mr. Whitehead has not written a Chester Himes heist caper, but instead, a not-so-nostalgic look back at the Harlem of the early sixties as though Dick Gregory wrote a heist novel, and in doing so, has devised a story that looks to be a heist novel, but is instead, an amalgam of Himes, Gregory, with hints of Richard Wright and Lorraine Hansberry mixed in for flavor. This is not what I expected, but is intensely readable nonetheless.
It’s a story of furniture salesman and part-time fence Ray Carney. Carney has a beautiful wife, children, in-laws he despises for all the right reasons, and a successful uptown business. The fact that he mixes with small-times hoods and the neighborhood low-lifes doesn’t make him any less of a man, it just means he’s attracted to the local color. His associations do make for some unlawful capers and some dirty business along the way, though, as this story covers about 5 years from 1959 to 1964. Real-life events like the Harlem riots, which erupted over the shooting of a young black man by a white cop enrich the story as it goes along. Dirty politicians, crooked bankers, and double dealing relatives figure in as well.
But this is not a heist novel in the classic sense. It is social commentary, some of it sweet, some of it bitter, but all of it authentic and painfully funny at the same time. This is the thinking man’s heist novel, where the score isn’t stolen goods, but instead, stolen lives.
About Colson Whitehead Author of Harlem Shuffle Pdf Book
I’m the author of the novels Zone One; Sag Harbor; The Intuitionist, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award; John Henry Days, which won the Young Lions Fiction Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Apex Hides the Hurt, winner of the PEN Oakland Award. I’ve also written a book of essays about my home town, The Colossus of New York, and a non-fiction account of the 2011 World Series of Poker called The Noble Hustle. A recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship, I live in New York City.
My latest book, The Underground Railroad, is an Oprah’s Book Club pick.
Harlem Shuffle pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
- Publisher : Doubleday; First Edition (September 14, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385545134
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385545136
- Item Weight : 1.4 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.31 x 1.2 x 9.52 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #18,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #57 in Heist Thrillers
- #178 in Historical Thrillers (Books)
- #1,988 in Literary Fiction (Books)
- Customer Reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars 11,039 ratings
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