Another great addition by Colson Whitehead. HARLEM Shuffle by the author of Pulitzer and American Book Award winners THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD and THE NICKEL BOYS, is a great add to Colson’s collection.
This work by Whitehead reminds me of the of the people and places of New York written by the great Pete Hamill. This entertaining novel is a trip through the topography and Harlem Society of the 1960s. Shuffle is a crime story and so much more because like Hamill’s writing of Downtown in Shuffle you see and smell the vivid sights of the city. ” No new frontier stretched before him, endless and beautiful-that was for white folks-but this new land was a few blocks at least and in Harlem a few blocks was everything. A few blocks was the difference between strivers and crooks, between opportunity and hard scrabble. ” In Colson’s book some characters often merged into a fixating combination.
Shuffle is well worth the trip. Great humor and a crime story fit for Carl Hiaasen’s library. Lucky You comes to mind. Summer isn’t over. Shuffle is a good fun read by one of America’s great writers.
The historical novel genre trumps non-fiction in Honoree Fanonne Jeffers‘ incredible work, THE LOVE SONGS of W.E.B. DuBOIS.
From slave ship to the 20th Century, a family story that evokes memories of Alex Haley’s ROOTS. However, the impeccably researched detail, characters and story telling in LOVE SONGS goes beyond that classic work.
In reading LOVE SONGS I was called to events reported in iconoclastic The 1619 Project. However in LOVE SONGS, storyteller Jeffers is supreme. Like ROOTS, the events are personified and the story line captures the reader not just through the extraordinary events but for generations. Jeffers does not miss a single important issue that has faced African Americans both within society and individual familial generations. Her protagonists carry indelible images of the individuality within her race. Sub-themes tell stories of differing shades of black skin, and there is a strong feminist substance throughout her work that is deeply personal and often explicit. The W.E.B. Dubois connection will unfold but reading his The Soul of Black Folks will add great depth.
At seven hundred ninety pages LOVE SONGS is no quick read but Jeffers’ story telling, dialogue and imagery flows beautifully through every turn of the page. If I had a vote LOVE SONGS would warrant a Pulitzer and an American Book Award.