At first glance, the ambitious Ray Carney of Carney's Furniture 125th Street, is as upright and dependable as the furniture he sells to support his growing family. But a second glance reveals the demands he juggles on all fronts - from the disapproval of his plutey in-laws to his involvement - both voluntary and involuntary - with his cousin Freddy's dodgy deals, and the prejudice he faces on a daily basis.
With its vibrant language and colourful characters, this multi-layered caper of crime, corruption and capitalism conveys the plight of African Americans in 1960s New York as the civil rights era hits its stride.
The group had mixed reviews. It was an intriguing look at Harlem in the 1960s, and all the backhanders Ray had to pay for survival. This book took a bit of reading - would possibly appeal to male readers
Generally most members loved the humour and Black patois delivered with empathy.
Enjoyable - different.
Mixed reaction. Some people loved it - others found it difficult to read. A very different subject read than others we have read.
About half the group couldn't get into it - writing style dense and confusing.
Only a few of the group actually finished this book. Many found it difficult to connect and identify with both the story and the setting, being middle-class women of a certain age living in N.Z. Some felt the writing was almost a script, relying on a visual medium to set the scene, rather than a descriptive narrative, so hard to visualise what Harlem was really like.