Strivers and crooks

Mindy Gill on Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle
The ABR Podcast 14 October 2021

Strivers and crooks

Mindy Gill on Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle
The ABR Podcast 14 October 2021

Mindy Gill


Colson Whitehead is a critically acclaimed American author of eight novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Underground Railroad (2016) and The Nickel Boys (2019). His latest work, Harlem Shuffle, set in the titular neighbourhood in the 1960s, is branded as a probing crime caper of ‘heists, shakedowns and rip-offs’. Whitehead’s previous novels are marked by nuanced commentary on race and power, yet, as Mindy Gill argues in her review, this dynamic threatens a tantalising foray into genre fiction: ‘What prevents Harlem Shuffle from being a convincing crime novel, then, is part of its broader failure: Whitehead’s reluctance to depart from rousing social messaging.’


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