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    The New YorkerColson Whitehead7/15/2139 min
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    The New Yorker
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    • DellwoodBarker
      Scribe
      1 month ago

      Looking forward to finally diving into one of the author’s novels. My first read of his will likely be Harlem Shuffle.

      A great example of the prose here:

      The weeknight operator was named Anna-Louise. She had worked at the Hotel Theresa for thirty years, since before it was desegregated, routing calls. Her chair swivelled. She liked the night work, joking with and mothering the succession of young desk clerks through the years, and she liked listening to the guests’ calls, the arguments and arrangements of assignations, the lonely calls home through the cold, cold wires. The disembodied voices were a radio play, a peculiar one in which most of the characters appeared only once. Lulu visited Anna-Louise at the switchboard every now and then. They had been lovers since high school and, around their building, referred to themselves as sisters. The lie had made sense when they first moved in, but it was silly now. No one really cares about other people when you get down to it—their own struggles are too close up. The women screamed, then shut their mouths and put their hands up when Miami Joe aimed the gun. To the right was the manager’s office. “Get the key,” he said. Pepper brought the clerk and the night man into the office area. Miami Joe stood by the wall of iron bars that separated the room from the vault, far enough away to cover both the men and the women if they tried anything funny. He didn’t think that was going to happen. They were rabbits, quivering and afraid. Miami Joe’s voice was level and calm when he spoke to them, not to soothe but because he thought it more sadistic. He felt the erotic rush he always got on jobs; it kicked in when the caper got going and dissipated when it was over, and then he didn’t remember it until the next job. Never could get ahold of it when he wasn’t thieving. It told him that his idea for the job and its practical execution were in harmony.

      The author is excellent at detail and planning and psychological motive