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Harlem Shuffle

By: Colson Whitehead
Narrated by: Dion Graham
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Publisher's Summary

From the author of The Underground Railroad (now a major Amazon Prime TV show)

'Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked....'

To his customers and neighbours 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.

©2021 Colson Whitehead (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about Harlem Shuffle

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A great tale perfectly told

I just loved this. I’ve read Whiteheads two most recent books and really wondered how it would be to listen rather than read.
But the voice! It is so good. Loved it

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6 people found this helpful

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Beautiful prose and character development

The narrators voice takes you right into Harlem in the late 50s and early 60's. Crime, family loyalty, ambition and racism played out by our man on the street Carney. I loved it and looking forward to the next book in this trilogy l.

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  • Overall
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Intonation of narrator

My partner and I tried to listen to this on a long car journey, but found the narrators voice , particularly his intonation, very difficult to understand against the background noise of the car so gave up!

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Another storytelling marvel

I might be a little late to the Colson Whitehead appreciation party, but appreciate him I do. His books may seem a little on the short side going by the page numbers, but don’t let that fool you. They are densely packed into literary beauties.
Dion Graham, whom I’ve listened to before, really suits the style of Whitehead’s writing, and now I’m eagerly awaiting the dulcet tones as he brings the next instalment to life.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.