Purchase Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead and register for the event
(proof of purchase required)
Spend an evening with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead, discussing his gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s with independent bookstores across Canada.
Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ten works of fiction and nonfiction, and is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad, which also won the National Book Award. A recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.
From two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead, a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s.
"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 installment-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 plans 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?
Elamin Abdelmahmoud is a culture writer for BuzzFeed News and host of Party Lines and Pop Chat with CBC Podcasts. He also writes Incoming, the daily BuzzFeed News morning newsletter. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone and the Globe and Mail and others. When he gets a chance, he writes bad tweets.