Harlem Shuffle (Book Review)

Harlem Shuffle (Book Review)

Harlem Shuffle Book Review

Harlem Shuffle is an accurate depiction of Harlem in the 60’s, with riots over a white cop killing a black boy, and almost everyone on the take. Carney, the main character, is supposedly “more bent than crooked,” but is still part of too many illegal goings on for my taste. Maybe the point is that what crime the blacks were doing to just get by, was nothing compared to the huge, greedy, white crime that built New York City.

I read this book for three reasons. First I wanted to be with my book group, and I was busy last month, and the next two I can’t make either, so even though I would not have chosen to read this book, I did read it to join in with them for their discussion last night.  Secondly, it fit in our Reading Challenge category for reading about a culture outside our own. And thirdly, I read the Pulitzer Prize winning book Underground Railroad by this same author, and knew him to be a good writer.

But regardless of all that, I can’t really recommend this book, even though I usually only blog books that I do endorse. I give this one 3 stars. You won’t get enough out of this for the effort you put in, which is probably why I let it inspire that painting I posted yesterday, to sweeten the pie and balance the score.

I suggest passing this novel by, like all the tainted characters should have, with their nefarious life choices. Given that the author is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, you may have considered reading this, but I’d say go with something else. I think this is the last book I’ll read by Colson Whitehead.

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Brian G 12 months ago

    “There is nothing so conducive to individual unfoldment as reading a book — even one with which one does not agree”. Margaret Laird, CSB


  1. […] groups that meet for dinner before our book discussion. (Last week we discussed Harlem Shuffle, see my review here.) During our dinner before, there was a vociferous conversation about book banning, with STRONG […]

  2. […] been reading a book about Harlem that I’ll review tomorrow (here is the review). This 18″x24″ painting in pastel is me processing it. See the complete work above and […]

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