Harlem Shuffle: A Novel

Category: Book
By (author): Whitehead, Colson
Subject:  FICTION / African American / General
  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Historical
  FICTION / Literary
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Published: September 2021
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 336
Size: 9.25in x 6.12in
Our Price:
$ 36.00
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

From two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead, 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 neighbours on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a 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 and bigger all the time. See, cash is tight, especially with all those installment-plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace at the furniture store, Ray doesn't see the need to ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweller downtown who also doesn't ask questions. Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plans 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, after all. Now Ray has to cater to a new clientele, one made up of shady cops on the take, vicious minions of the local crime lord and numerous other Harlem lowlifes.

Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he starts to see the truth about 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 is driven by an ingeniously intricate plot that plays out in a beautifully recreated Harlem 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.

Review Quote*

"Whitehead adds another genre to an ever-diversifying portfolio with his first crime novel, and it's a corker. . . . Whitehead delivers a portrait of Harlem in the early '60s, culminating with the Harlem Riot of 1964, that is brushed with lovingly etched detail and features a wonderful panoply of characters who spring to full-bodied life, blending joy, humor, and tragedy. A triumph on every level. . . . Whitehead seems destined for more honors with [this] novel." -Booklist (starred review) 

"An entertaining heist novel and family saga set in 1960s Harlem." -USA Today

"This most eclectic of contemporary masters never repeats himself, and his new novel is as audacious, ingenious, and spellbinding as any of his previous period pieces. . . . Readers will be captivated by a Dickensian array of colorful, idiosyncratic characters, from itchy-fingered gangsters to working-class women with a low threshold for male folly. What's even more impressive is Whitehead's densely layered, intricately woven rendering of New York City in the Kennedy era, a time filled with both the bright promise of greater economic opportunity and looming despair due to the growing heroin plague." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Praise for Colson Whitehead:

"Ten books in, Whitehead has established a pattern of unpredictability, experimenting across narrative types, structures and even genres, though always delivering sharp observation and rich prose." -TIME

"Sizzling. . . It's a superlative story, but the most impressive achievement is Whitehead's loving depiction of a Harlem 60 years gone . . . which lands as detailed and vivid as Joyce's Dublin. Don't be surprised if this one wins Whitehead another major award." -Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Whitehead as one of his generation's best." -Entertainment Weekly

"A writer like Whitehead, who challenges the complacent assumption that we even fathom what happened in our past, has rarely seemed more essential." -The New York Times Book Review

"Beyond a shadow of a doubt . . . Whitehead is one of the most gifted novelists in America today." -NPR

"Whitehead comports himself with gravity and care, the steward of painful, suppressed histories; his choices on the page can feel as much ethical as aesthetic. The ordinary language, the clear pane of his prose, lets the stories speak for themselves." -The New York Times

"Part family saga, part crime novel, Harlem Shuffle provides a gloriously entertaining adventure that only further solidifies Whitehead as one of the most versatile authors today." -Book Riot

Biographical Note

COLSON WHITEHEAD is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ten works of fiction and nonfiction, and is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad, which also won the National Book Award. A recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.