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Harlem Shuffle: A Novel av Colson Whitehead
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Harlem Shuffle: A Novel (urspr publ 2021; utgåvan 2021)

av Colson Whitehead (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
4283045,767 (4.09)36
Medlem:huckabees222
Titel:Harlem Shuffle: A Novel
Författare:Colson Whitehead (Författare)
Info:Doubleday (2021), 336 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Harlem Shuffle av Colson Whitehead (2021)

Senast inlagd avmarqlib, MLRALibrary, swilson, CourtPappas, WyldeCherryBlossom, privat bibliotek, icf, Deaverh, pevka
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Visa 1-5 av 28 (nästa | visa alla)
It was funny to look at reviews and everyone is talking about Colson Whitehead doing something new. Whitehead has been writing light fare for years. For those, like me, who have vastly prefered his heavier fare, this is by far the best of the lot of his lighter books, and it is a heart-stopping love letter to Harlem. I started this last Friday and within 20 pages I knew that I would schlep up to Harlem to read this book in the middle of Whitehead's muse. It was a good thing to do, a gorgeous day at the top end of Central Park by the Lasker Rink was the perfect place to sink into this one.

Though this has an Edward G. Robinson/Jimmy Cagney-esque crime caper feel, if you are looking for a traditional mystery thriller I expect you will be disappointed. If you are looking for historical fiction it works. Like most fiction that I like this book is not really about the central events, they provide a structure for Whitehead to write about bigger issues, in this case about rising as a black man at a particular time in America (and especially in NYC.) By Any Means Necessary made sense in retrospect, it mattered historically, but that was not the only discussion being had in Harlem, and in fact a tiny subsection of Harlem's residents actively engaged in the civil rights movement. Most people were ducking their heads trying to just get by. Things were bad enough without poking the bear. The work of getting anything was punishing (to body, mind, soul and conscience) for people in Harlem, and it was they who absorbed the repercussions of the fight against oppression. This tells their story, the people who had something to hold onto and a suspicion that battering down barriers would not necessarily inure to the benefit of those they loved. It tells the story of people who rose in their milieu, and knew they would never be on an even playing field that would allow them to take care of the people that mattered to them if they had to do in a place where everything was played by white men's rules. Whitehead provides such a dazzling, smart, strong and relatable character in Carney that I had no problem at all walking in his shoes and seeing the world through his lens. It was remarkable. I love this character!

Carney carries this book without a hitch and I wanted to spend as much time with him and the people he loves as possible. For that reason I do think that things went in too many directions and it was hard to stay immersed. We kept getting wrapped up in Carney's capers. They were entertaining, and I wanted to be a part of them, but for me there were too many of them and they were too far removed from one another and from Carney's family - almost like connected short stories. Like I said, still great, it is equal parts funny, touching, and violent, which is hard to argue with, and it is (as Whitehead always is) incredibly smart. Also informative. I found out I have been mispronouncing the name of the Van Wyck expressway for as long as I have been pronouncing the name of the Van Wyck. Finally, the last sentence was perfect -- everything I believe in my heart about people prettifying this city at the expense of everything that actually matters about this city was right there. ( )
  Narshkite | Oct 22, 2021 |
Ray Carney’s father was a hustler and petty thief who was killed by the police in Harlem for stealing a bottle of cough syrup from a pharmacy. Bullied in school, Ray decided that was not the kind of life he wanted to lead--“The way he saw it, living taught you that you didn’t have to live the way you’d been taught to live. You came from one place but more important was where you decided to go.”
He graduated from high school and college. Later on, when he went to sell his father’s truck he found $30,000 hidden in a wheel. He decided to use the money and buy a furniture store so he could support his family and live a respectable life.
He did quite well selling new and used furniture as well as other items, such as jewelry. Those he sold to other buyers.. His prices were fair and he usually paid a fair price for used furniture. Sometimes, however, he turned a blind eye to the source of the merchandise he bought.
He and his wife had a child and a second was on the way. His father-in-law was a respected accountant. He wanted to be respected. They wanted a larger apartment in a better neighborhood and was working towards that goal.
Enter his cousin, Freddie The two boys had been close since childhood but Freddie preferred the life of getting money in other-than-legal ways, always as a lower level team member. He would then get Ray to be the middle man on the sale of his takings..
HARLEM SHUFFLE is the story of Ray’s life in Harlem during three time periods: 1959, 1961,and 1964. It follows Ray’s actions and decisions about what he should do to achieve his goals, what he does, and the pros and cons of his decisions.
The book is an excellent story by two time Pulitzer Prize winning Colson Whitehead. The characters are realistic and understandable. Life is depicted as it was in that place at that time. And, while entertaining and enlightening, it provides much to think about.
Seneca Village was a thriving 19th Century neighborhood for black residents of New York City in the nineteenth century. It was so desirable that the white city government took it over, drove out the residents and businesses, and turned it into what is now known as Central Park. ( )
  Judiex | Oct 18, 2021 |
Colson Whitehead's newest novel is a wonderful journey into the dual existence of Ray Carney. The son of a crook, Ray has a hard time leaving all his roots as furniture salesman in Harlem who occasionally will act as middle man for stolen goods. "he's only slightly bent when it comes to being crooked." This is the fourth novel of his I've read and I remain impressed with his willingness to change styles and techniques to meet the needs of his story. He is certainly one of America's most important authors.
Ray Carney's observations about life in the turbulent 60's, the cast of life long criminals and crooked cops, about playing it safe or enacting revenge--makes for entertaining reading with glimpses of a life worth rooting for. The character descriptions alone are treasures. Here's one of my favorite characters, Pepper:
"He was burly and long-limbed, stooping to hide his true size. Something off about him made you look twice, but his dark gaze made you turn before you could figure it out. He shouldn’t be there, but was. A mountain man who’d taken a wrong turn and stayed in the city, or a blown-in weed that’d found purchase in a sidewalk crack: a foreign body that had adapted to its new home."
There is talk of Whitehead continuing with The characters of this great novel; we can only hope.

Lines:
Carney took the previous tenants’ busted schemes and failed dreams as a kind of fertilizer that helped his own ambitions prosper, the same way a fallen oak in its decomposition nourishes the acorn.

Freddie’s common sense tended to fall out of a hole in his pocket—he never carried it long.

Everyone had secret corners and alleys that no one else saw—what mattered were your major streets and boulevards, the stuff that showed up on other people’s maps of you.

Pepper
He was burly and long-limbed, stooping to hide his true size. Something off about him made you look twice, but his dark gaze made you turn before you could figure it out. He shouldn’t be there, but was. A mountain man who’d taken a wrong turn and stayed in the city, or a blown-in weed that’d found purchase in a sidewalk crack: a foreign body that had adapted to its new home.

It was one thing to believe the world was indifferent and cruel, and another to wake to proof every day in the treacherous mountain slopes, the hungry gorges and ravines, the myriad jungle treachery. Only a lazy God could deliver the meanness of things so unadorned.

The diner was a shabby operation, the cracks in the floor caulked by grime, the windows cloudy.

Dorvay
It was a respite from the normal world and its demands, a hollow of private enterprise carved out of lost hours...Learned gentlemen aside, Carney knew crime’s hours when he saw them—dorvay was crooked heaven, when the straight world slept and the bent got to work.

He reminded Carney of the mouthy deputy in a Western, cocksure and cracking jokes, and liable to get offed before the final reel.

The children were spread-eagled, with their faces nestled into the crooks of their arms. All the Carneys slept like that, as if still shrinking from some primeval ugliness.

But then, Big Mike had tended his crop of grudges like a farmer, inspecting the rows, taking care they got enough water and fertilizer so that they grew big and healthy.

He took up a pipe and on warm nights perched on the fire escape overlooking Forty-Eighth, puffing, the iron scaffold a periscope that allowed a view of the sleepy-churning Hudson while the saxophone of Ornette Coleman barked and bleated on the hi-fi, wringing the city’s death rattle from its harrowed throat.

Gnaw on a disappointment long enough and it will lose all flavor. ( )
  novelcommentary | Oct 13, 2021 |
Probably more of a 3.5 star rating. My expectations were quite high since I loved The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys. I truly thought the character development at the beginning was good. It reminded me of Deacon King Kong by the great James McBride. But the crime story was weak and I kept thinking more would happen. By the end, I figured nothing more would happen and I just wanted to finish it. I'll still read everything by Colson Whitehead. This just wasn't for me. ( )
  Beth.Clarke | Oct 12, 2021 |
Good narrative prose but mixed up plot and a jumble of characters ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Oct 11, 2021 |
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