Harlem Shuffle

Whitehead, Colson

  8 Reviews

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.



AUCK 171
Overall, most enjoyed the book, although difficult to follow the characters at times. Gave huge insight into 1960's issues, cultural waves and lifestyles. Generated lots of discussion.
We all loved this book, finding it entertaining and thought provoking. We voted it our No 1 book of the year. Ray was such a great character, we did wonder how much of the author's personality had been woven into this story. Our discussion centred on the riots of 1960's and the riots that erupted after George Floyd was killed. Nothing seems to have changed!
CHCH 468
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
AUCK 010
Generally most members loved the humour and Black patois delivered with empathy.
HAVE 015
Enjoyable - different.
ASHB 015
Mixed reaction. Some people loved it - others found it difficult to read. A very different subject read than others we have read.
AUCK 408
About half the group couldn't get into it - writing style dense and confusing.
AUCK 107
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.