Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' Tackles The Crime Caper To Critical Acclaim | Book Pulse

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead gets critical acclaim. Nonfiction by Mary Roach and Nathaniel Philbrick get reviewed. Richard Powers and his new book Bewilderment are profiled. Sarah Bourke wins 2021 Stanner Award. Interviews arrive with Colson Whitehead, Mary Roach, Tarana Burke, Antoni Porowski, Evan Osnos, Megan Milks, Aimee Wall, Janice Lee and more. Don DeLillo’s novel Underworld and Charlie Jane Anders’ Victories Greater Than Death get adaptations. Plus, the first Spider Man comic sells for a record-breaking $3.6 million.

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Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead's new novel Harlem Shuffle (Doubleday; LJ starred review) is getting critical acclaim this week:

The NYT reviews: “Whitehead’s sweet, sweaty, authoritative, densely peopled portrait of a Harlem in near perpetual summer is the most successful part of the book.” 

The Washington Post also reviews: "there’s nothing derivative about Whitehead’s storytelling. As usual, when he moves into a new genre, he keeps the bones but does his own decorating."  

The Minneapolis Star Tribune weighs in: "Colson Whitehead's enthralling, evocative new novel transforms a petty heist into a resonant exploration of race and class."

CrimeReads has a Q&A with Whitehead, about why he wrote a heist novel while Esquire talks with him about mastering the crime caper

Plus, The LA Times gets his thoughts on having fun with character development and the expectations of others. 


The NYT reviews Civilizations by Laurent Binet (FSG): “Fortunately, Binet’s historical feints afford imaginative frissons and relief from paragraph after paragraph of dutiful play-by-play about an empire in the making.” And, Palmares by Gayl Jones (Beacon): “Mercy, this story shimmers. Shakes. Wails. Moves to rhythms long forgotten. Chants in incantations highly forbidden. It is a story woven with extraordinary complexity, depth and skill; in many ways: holy.” Also, Crazy Sorrow by Vince Passaro (S. & S.): “succeeds at many things — it’s sometimes gorgeously written; it frequently evokes the texture of the city with precision and artfulness; the perspective it brings to bear is both large-minded and discerning.” And, Talk to Me by T.C. Boyle (Ecco): “Without richer, more fleshed-out characters and motives, it all feels like just another cup of coffee at Tom’s diner." And, Assembly by Natasha Brown (Little, Brown): “a smart novel that takes risks with the questions it raises.” Plus, Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War by Samuel Moyn (Farrar): “The yearning to avoid war and yet make it more humane will therefore continue, rendering Moyn’s book timeless.” Also, Fuzz by Mary Roach (Norton; LJ starred review): “The book doesn’t come off as comprehensive, but it does make for an idiosyncratic tour with Roach as the wisecracking, ever-probing guide.” And, Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking): “Philbrick’s present-day experiences and thoughts are skippable, except when he wrestles with problems, some of Washington’s vintage, that continue to afflict us. Of greatest concern to us now are slavery and its child, racism.” And, You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union (Dey Street Books): “Blurring the line between public and private, many chapters in “You Got Anything Stronger?” hinge on the very act of disclosure, the moments where Union relatably brings social media more in line with real life.“ Also, Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia by George Makari (Norton): “Throughout his analysis, Makari brings an impressive range of reading to bear, wearing his learning lightly and interspersing fascinating capsule biographies of transformational figures like Raphael Lemkin, Carl Schmitt and Theodor Adorno with literary commentary on Aldous Huxley, Richard Wright and James Baldwin.” Lastly, The Girls in the Wild Fig Tree : How I Fought to Save Myself, My Sister, and Thousands of Girls Worldwide by Nice Leng’ete (Little, Brown): “Leng’ete’s escape, and her activism, are the centerpiece of this important memoir, but she’s far too compelling to be viewed through the lens of such achievements alone.” 

The Washington Post reviews The Magician by Colm Toibin (Scribner): "is Mann-sized, but it canters along not only on the strength of Tóibín’s graceful prose, but also because the reader can hardly wait for the next bon mot from a family member or guest." And, On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint by Maggie Nelson (Graywolf Press): “In defense of what should be obvious — we are beholden to each other and the planet that sustains us — Nelson encourages readers to examine ‘how we negotiate, suffer, and dance with that enmeshment,’ therein finding meaning, purpose and joy in an age of justifiable anxiety.”

LA Times reviews The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine (Grove; LJ starred review): “a peculiar novel, intentionally — a prismatic, sui generis story that’s unafraid of humor while addressing a humanitarian crisis, threading a needle between that urge to witness and the recognition that doing so may be pointless.”

NPR reviews Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed): “Renkl's sense of joyful belonging to the South, a region too often dismissed on both coasts in crude stereotypes and bad jokes, co-exists with her intense desire for Southerners who face prejudice or poverty finally to be embraced and supported.”

Briefly Noted

The 12th annual Imagining Indigenous Futurisms Award is open for submissionsLocus has details. The Lammys are also now open for submissions

Sarah Bourke wins 2021 Stanner Award, for the “best academic manuscript written by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander author. Books + Publishing has more.

Author and book influencer Zibby Owens launches Zibby Books, with publishing veteran Leigh Newman. PW has the story.

LitHub has an interview with Mary Roach about Fuzz (Norton; LJ starred review), and “how to know when you’re writing a book.”

CBC speaks with Aimee Wall about her book, We, Jane (Book*hug Press), recently longlisted for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Oprah talks with Tarana Burke, author of Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement (Flatiron; LJ starred review) at Oprahdaily.

Shondaland has a Q&A with Megan Milks about their coming-of-age novel, Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body (Amethyst Editions). 

USA Today talks with Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski, about his new cookbookAntoni: Let’s Do Dinner (Houghton Harcourt).

The Rumpus interviews Janice Lee, Imagine a Death (Texas Review Pr.), about "her new novel, the apocalypse, intentional composition, and more."

NYT profiles Richard Powers and his new book, Bewilderment (Norton; LJ starred review). The paper also has a profile of Max Chafkin and his new biography, The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power (Penguin Pr.).

People shares details from Stephanie Grisham’s forthcoming book, I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House (Harper).

Entertainment Weekly has a cover reveal of the hardback edition of Quentin Tarantino’s novel Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Harper Perennial: HarperCollins).

Buzzfeed has “33 Books To Read If You Can't Stop Watching Marvel Movies.”

ElectricLit has "7 Books That Belong on the Literary Stunt Index."

First Spider Man comic sells for record-breaking $3.6 Million. The NYT reports.

Authors on Air

NPR’s Morning Edition talks with Evan Osnos about his new book, Wildland: The Making of America's Fury (FSG).

Don DeLillo’s novel Underworld (Scribner) will be adapted and directed by Ted Melfi for Amazon. Deadline reports. 

Charlie Jane Anders’ Victories Greater Than Death (Tor Teen: Macmillan) will be adapted as a series for AmazonVariety reports.

Forthcoming Disney+ show Hawkeye from Marvel gets a trailerEntertainment Weekly tracks the comic book references in the preview.

DC’s Batman Penguin spinoff series, with assoc titles, is being developed for HBO MaxThe Hollywood Reporter has details.

Tarana Burke, Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement (Flatiron; LJ starred review) visits The View on Wednesday. Gabrielle Union, You Got Anything Stronger? (Dey Street Books), will be on Tamron Hall Wednesday.


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