50 pages 1 hour read

Colson Whitehead

Harlem Shuffle

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Before You Read

Roundup icon

Super Short Summary

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead follows Raymond "Ray" Carney, an African American furniture salesman in late-1950s and early-1960s Harlem, who struggles to maintain a balance between his respectable business and his activities in fencing stolen goods, whose life spirals after his cousin Freddie ropes him into a dangerous heist, leading to subsequent conflicts, and revenge plots. This book portrays periods of social upheaval, criminal activity, and violence.

Reviews & Readership

Roundup icon

Review Roundup

Colson Whitehead's Harlem Shuffle has garnered praise for its vivid evocation of 1960s Harlem and its compelling characters. Critics admire the intricate plot and Whitehead's skill in intertwining crime with social commentary. However, some feel the pacing lags in parts. Overall, it's celebrated for its rich storytelling and historical insight.

Who should read this

Who Should Read Harlem Shuffle?

Readers who appreciate vividly rendered historical settings, complex characters, and a blend of crime with social commentary will enjoy Colson Whitehead's Harlem Shuffle. Comparable to Chester Himes' A Rage in Harlem and Walter Mosley's Devil in a Blue Dress, this novel appeals to fans of gripping mysteries and rich cultural landscapes.

RecommendedReading Age


Book Details


Mystery / Crime Fiction

Historical Fiction

Drama / Tragedy