Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood--where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned--Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. In Whiteheads ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor--engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesars first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the citys placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gullivers Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey--hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the preCivil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one womans ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
B>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./b>br>br>"Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked..."br>br>To his customers and neighbors 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.br>br>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.br>br>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 jeweler downtown who also doesn''t ask questions. br>br>Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan 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.br>br>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?br>br>Harlem Shuffle is driven by an ingeniously intricate plot that plays out in a beautifully recreated Harlem of the early 1960s. It''s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.br>br>But mostly, it''s a joy to read, another dazzling novel from the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning Colson Whitehead.
The town of Winthrop has decided it needs a new name. The resident software millionaire wants to call it New Prospera; the mayor wants to return to the original choice of the founding black settlers; and the town';s aristocracy sees no reason to change the name at all. What they need, they realize, is a nomenclature consultant. And, it turns out, the consultant needs them. But in a culture overwhelmed by marketing, the name is everything and our hero';s efforts may result in not just a new name for the town but a new and subtler truth about it as well.From the Trade Paperback edition.