Cover Image: Harlem Shuffle

Harlem Shuffle

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Member Reviews

I jumped at the chance of reading a preview copy of this book from Netgalley (thank you) as I'm a big fan of the author. However, the story just rambled in my opinion and it was a struggle to finish. I enjoyed the character development of Carney and his family. The intrigue of Harlem in the 60's drew me in as I enjoy historical fiction. You knew that Carney wanted to go straight but family and circumstances kept drawing him in  to the criminal element. It is interesting how he captured the illegal portion by educating himself with the jeweler and learning as time went on.
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Colson Whitehead has written two other, wonderful books. I had high expectations going into this book, even though I realized his story line/material for this was quite different then the Underground Railroad & the Nickel Boys. However, overall, I was disappointed. The story felt all over the place, disjointed, and the writing was not nearly what it was in the past. Every good author has an off book, I hope that's all it is for this one and I look forward to what Mr. Whitehead writes in the future!
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This author is a great writer there is no doubt about that. The characters were well developed the atmospherics were wonderful and he is joy to read. So why two star? Because I couldnโ€™t connect and get excited about this book I quit after reading about a third of the book. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley
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I love anything that Colson Whitehead writes and this book is no different!! Harlem Shuffle was wonderfully written and about a time period that I'm not too familiar with so this was a really enjoyable, information, and transformational book for me.
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Thank you to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book. Hugely enjoyable and captivating crime thriller set in early 1960s Harlem. This book doesn't compare to Whitehead's previous books; however, I'm enjoying the departure. This read doesn't have the emotional depth of the others but it's nice to see his range as an author.
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This one just wasn't as strong or as good as his others. Took a long time to get into it. It was a bit boring, in my opinion.
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I enjoyed this story very much. The crime and racism of New York City of the past was enticing. You were always trying to figure out what would happen next. The heist portion of the book was great. I've never read a novel including that "heist" culture and it was intriguing to be privy of all sides of the "job" and how it affects all involved. This was such a twisty ride and I loved every bit of it. I would not put Harlem Shuffle in my library as I am a middle school librarian, but I would recommend it for public and personal libraries again and again.
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This was a fun crime noir type adventure. However, I didn't enjoy it as much as Whitehead's other reads. I still enjoyed it, but it was lacking something from his works, not sure what, but it just didn't feel all there. I still think others will definitely enjoy this one.
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๐™๐™๐™š ๐™ƒ๐™–๐™ง๐™ก๐™š๐™ข ๐™Ž๐™๐™ช๐™›๐™›๐™ก๐™š was an easy pick to read because of the writer Colson Whitehead. After writing Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning books like ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™๐™ฃ๐™™๐™š๐™ง๐™œ๐™ง๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™๐™–๐™ž๐™ก๐™ง๐™ค๐™–๐™™ and ๐™๐™๐™š ๐™‰๐™ž๐™˜๐™ ๐™š๐™ก ๐˜ฝ๐™ค๐™ฎ๐™จ, Whitehead is an autobuy for me because he constantly pushes America forward with his social mores about race, class, and power.  Once I realized Colson was going to infuse this dynamic into a Black family in a 1950โ€™s Harlem backdropโ€”where the main character, family man Ray Carney, would straddle the worlds between the striver and the crookโ€”then I was intrigued and so were many others.  More than that, Whitehead also caters this book to be a โ€œlove letter to Harlemโ€ as well.

I initially struggled to get into novel and at first I wished I could have shuffled to the end, but I did not want to let the book defeat me so I pushed through.  It dragged in the first 50-60 pages or maybe even more. There was hardly any action so that didnโ€™t help, but more so character development of Ray Carney, Freddie (his cousin), other crime mobsters, and supporting characters. The novel is also divided up into three distinctive historical times spanning from 1959-1964, where Harlem changes culturally and racially, too. It helped to just actually listen to the audio and hear the story being told to me for me to really enjoy it.

My favorite points from the novel:

* โ€œThe way he saw it, living taught you that you didn't have to live the way you've been taught to live. You came from one place but more important was where you decided to go.โ€
* โ€œPlenty of crooks were strivers, and plenty of strivers bent the law.โ€
* โ€œAinโ€™t nobody listening.  Do you listen to what the roach says before you step on him?โ€
* โ€œYou have to know your limits as a man and master them.โ€

Carneyโ€™s main point overall in the novel remains to the striver or the crook: โ€œthere were always consequences.โ€ Whatever we do in this life we have to be willing to ride the wave of that responsibility.
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I really enjoyed this novel and loved feeling like i was transported back to that era of time. Such a talented author that never lets me down. I highly recommend!
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Not my favorite of Whitehead's work but it will be a nice addition to our English literature curriculum and to the library.
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Colson Whitehead is a heavy hitter who takes on weighty issues, so stepping back and taking a breather with a semicomic heist-type tale is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is that this novel is so ordinary. Oh, it has some serious issues embedded in the story -- gentrification, economic segregation and corruption among public officials -- but they serve only as familiar road signs along the highway to hell. The plot was something akin to that of the great film, Chinatown, moved to New York City. Whitehead is a superb writer, so you can ride along on his prose, but the Harlem Shuffle, like the famous Ali Shuffle, sets you up for a sucker punch.
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I thought the prose was lovely but I spent the whole book waiting for something to happen. Ray just wasn't interesting enough for it to just be a character study. I would have loved some action or anything to really happen. Enjoyed the setting a lot though.
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Dazzling, entertaining and richly written novel by award winning Whitehead never fails to impress. A love letter to Harlem and to Black history and presents.
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This was a good book, but I normally love Colson Whitehead and I had to put this one down and come back to it a few times--I'm still glad I read it, as it was very different from his last few books.  Thanks to Netgalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Unfortunately, this book wasn't for me. My main problem was that I wanted this to be like The Nickel Boys, and it is not. However, this book showcases  Colson Whitehead's true talent and versatility as a writer, and I still consider myself a Whitehead fan. I look forward to his next book!
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To be the first book I read from Whiteheads this was awesome. I might reread again. Sadly due to time I will not be sending in review until next year
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โ€œA gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s.โ€

Based on the synopsis of the book I expected there to be more heists than actually took place so I was a little disappointed there. The book also moved a little slow for me and between that and all the different characters that you have to follow I often got a little lost. I also canโ€™t really stand reading about characters that are just so blindly loyal to someone in the way that Carney is with Freddie. It didnโ€™t seem believable to me. Maybe I was just looking for more crime drama and less family drama. 

Whitehead does an excellent job of setting the scene and really putting the reader in the Harlem atmosphere of the 60s and heโ€™s clearly a talented writer, this just wasnโ€™t one that I enjoyed very much. 

eARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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This was my first colson whitehead book and it was great! I believe it was historically accurate with a lot of things but it was also entertaining. I did have to get through it sometimes but overall, I enjoyed it.
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Ray Carney, a slightly โ€œbentโ€, but admirable black man living in Harlem in the early 1960s, is constantly on the move trying to better his life. The income from his legit business, a furniture store, is often barely enough, so itโ€™s supplemented by various other, less legitimate endeavors. Along with a host of unusual characters, he participates in a number of crazy criminal schemes, endangering all heโ€™s worked for. Ray is a man you canโ€™t help but root for. He is so earnest, cares so much for his loved ones, and tries so hard to do the right thing, you canโ€™t help admiring him and worrying that one of these misadventures will tear his hard won life down. 
Whitehead paints a beautiful portrait of Harlem in the 1960s. Using his astonishing writing skills, he transports the reader to a place hard to imagine, both wonderful and terrible at times, but always fascinating. Rayโ€™s struggle to survive there shows how rigged the system is against people like him. He faces rampant racism, as well as discrimination based on his social status and family background. On top of that, corruption permeates the society, and he is constantly having to pay various officials and crooks for protection or favors. 

I enjoyed reading this, but, in my humble opinion, it would have been a much better book with less extraneous information. Most of it was fascinating, but it was excessive. This is the only reason I give it 4 stars.
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