Harlem Shuffle

Author(s): Colson Whitehead

General Fiction

'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 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 instalment 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 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.

Matilda Bookshop Review 


Ray Carney is without a doubt THE coolest furniture salesman I've ever come across in a book. Set in Harlem in the 60s, racial turmoil, riots and black power have turned the city of New York upside down. Through all of this madness Carney is trying to run a legit furniture business but sooner or later he must succumb to the Harlem Shuffle. Haunted by the ghost of his infamous father and crooked cousin Feddie, Carney inevitably winds up in all sorts of trouble crossing paths with shady characters and taking part in shady operations all with the aim of giving his wife and children a better life. I loved Whitehead's cool and measured writing style and couldn't put this book down. Simon

$32.99(AUD)

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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780708899465
  • : Little, Brown Book Group Limited
  • : Sphere
  • : 0.3
  • : June 2021
  • : 2.6 Centimeters X 23.3 Centimeters X 15.5 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 336
  • : 813/.54
  • : Paperback
  • : Colson Whitehead