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Friday, December 2, 2022

A Crime Scene Develops in Harlem, according to Colson Whitehead’s latest novel.

“Sometimes he slipped and his mind went thataway,” Colson Whitehead writes of Ray Carney, the Harlem furniture dealer at the heart of his new book, “Harlem Shuffle,” which is set in the neighbourhood where violence is prevalent. Despite the fact that Whitehead’s own imagination has notoriously wandered through nine previous novels that aren’t very similar to one another, he has finally arrived upon a structure that would work. He has said that he may continue Ray’s storey in a subsequent novel, and it won’t take you long to find out why.

Bringing Whitehead’s unwavering eloquence to a combination of city history, specialised hangouts, racial stratification, high dreams, and weak people, “Harlem Shuffle” is a must-see film for everyone who enjoys poetry and music. This all comes together to provide a colourful, crazy novel that might easily pass for genre fiction at times. It’s much more than that, but the entertainment factor alone should be enough to propel him to the same level of popular popularity that his previous two books, “The Underground Railroad” and “The Nickel Boys,” gained in the U. S.. It had the feel of a book whose author was having a great time doing what he was doing.

There is a key story in the book which takes place in the mid-20th century, and it includes a heist at the Theresa Hotel (Harlem’s answer to the Pierre Hotel in Midtown, which was really broken into the same year). raping the Theresa was “like to bringing Jackie Robinson to Mickey on the night of the World Series,” says Whitehead, since she was “so beautiful, such a magnet for black aristocracy.” The trip provides Whitehead with a great deal of material to work with in terms of narrative, and it also enables him to conjure up a lovely landmark that would otherwise have been lost.

Meet the gang of thugs in their natural habitat. There are several characters created by Whitehead for this: Miami Joe, the dope in the purple suit who is planning the heist; Chink Montague, the gangster who was staying there with a starlet and is irritated that his necklace was missing from the safe; Chet the vet and Yea Big, Montague’s henchmen; and Cousin Freddie, who has never met a crime he didn’t like. After that, there’s Ray, who is unavoidably entangled in the chaos. With addition to running Carney’s Furniture, Ray also dabbles in fencing jewellery from time to time on the side. He is charged with being a preliminary criminal.

The plot of the tale is driven by Ray’s desire. His quiet retaliation, as well. His in-laws are lighter-skinned and reared their daughter on Strivers’ Row, and they think him unworthy of their daughter. Ray has a white policeman working for him who requires bribes in order for Ray to remain in business. A renowned club provides him with the opportunity for upward advancement, but his admission may be contingent on whether he’s darker than a paper bag, according to the club’s infamous criteria, which will almost definitely cost him a victory. The intricate manner in which Whitehead handles this narrative line alone is a compelling incentive to read the book.

The Harlem Riots were in full swing when Ray received a visit from a representative of the business with whom he had previously shown an interest in becoming an affiliate. He’s a white guy from the Midwest who speaks English well. It gets freckles, a crew neck, and a seersucker cut thanks to Whitehead. And for a little time, the riot is more amusing than it is permitted to be.

Even though Ray is an explorer who travels from Washington Heights to the future site of the World Trade Center to take care of his different occupations, the core of the novel is set in Harlem, where the action is concentrated. His single significant journey outside of the country is planned meticulously. This illusion is created to make it seem as if the Futurama exhibit at the 1964 Planet’s Fair in Queens is a part of another world since that is how Ray feels when he visits the display.

David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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