Harlem Shuffle

“‘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 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 faðcade 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 jeweler downtown who also doesn’t ask questions.
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, 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.
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. 

Review Quotes:

“A rich, wild book that could pass for genre fiction. It’s much more, but the entertainment value alone should ensure it the same kind of popular success that greeted his last two novels, “The Underground Railroad” and “The Nickel Boys.”
Janet Maslin, The New York Times 

“Colson Whitehead has a couple of Pulitzers under his belt, along with several other awards celebrating his outstanding novels. Harlem Shuffle is a suspenseful crime thriller that’s sure to add to the tally — it’s a fabulous novel you must read.”
NPR.org


“A warm, involving novel”
The Wall Street Journal

“Another triumph from Pulitzer winner Whitehead”
People Magazine

“Fast-paced, keen-eyed and very funny, “Harlem Shuffle” is a novel about race, power and the history of Harlem all disguised as a thrill-ride crime novel.”
San Francisco Chronicle 

“Enthralling, cinematic…Whitehead’s evocation of early 1960s Harlem — strewn with double-crosses and double standards, broken glass and broken dreams — is irresistible…a valentine to a time and place.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune


“A cool, funny, slyly elegant genre outing that deftly weaves in weightier themes around the edges of a story about crooks and schemers in mid-20th-century New York.”
Laura Miller, Slate 

“Dazzling…exciting and wise.”
Walton Muyumba, The Boston Globe 

“A spectacularly pleasurable read, and while it is, of course, literary, it’s also a pure, unapologetic crime-fiction page-turner.”
Los Angeles Times

“Harlem Shuffle” is a wildly entertaining romp. But as you might expect with this two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur genius, Whitehead also delivers a devastating, historically grounded indictment of the separate and unequal lives of Blacks and whites in mid-20th century New York.
-Associated Press 

“An American master”
New York Times Book Review 

“Two-time Pulitzer winner Whitehead ( The Nickel Boys) returns with a sizzling heist novel set in civil rights-era Harlem. It’s 1959 and Ray Carney has built an ‘unlikely kingdom’ selling used furniture. A husband, a father, and the son of a man who once worked as muscle for a local crime boss, Carney is ‘only slightly bent when it [comes] to being crooked.’ But when his cousin Freddie–whose stolen goods Carney occasionally fences through his furniture store–decides to rob the historic Hotel Theresa, a lethal cast of underworld figures enter Carney’s life, among them the mobster Chink Montague, “known for his facility with a straight razor”; WWII veteran Pepper; and the murderous, purple-suited Miami Joe, Whitehead’s answer to No Country for Old Men‘s Anton Chigurh. These and other characters force Carney to decide just how bent he wants to be. It’s a superlative story, but the most impressive achievement is Whitehead’s loving depiction of a Harlem 60 years gone–‘that rustling, keening thing of people and concrete’–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 

$33.00

Availability: In stock

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