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An astonishing experience for a suburban white woman, to be transported to Harlem in the 1950s, and Himes (whom I'd heard of, but never read before) made it an unforgettable trip. The story is deliciously convoluted and the characters are perfectly presented, universal figures, yet each utterly one of a kind.
I was a little confused at first, because the lead characters in the series appear more than halfway through the story, and appear as secondary characters. This was Himes's first in the series, so perhaps he didn't realize he would use them again at the time he wrote it.
What set the whole thing sizzling was Samuel L. Jackson's extraordinary, sharp and loving performance, making each character uniquely memorable. I can't say enough about how much his power and enthusiasm got me sucked into the story completely.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
I'd heard of Chester Himes's Harlem Cycle before, but if it hadn't been for this new "A-List" collection and Samuel L. Jackson's narration, it might have been a while yet before I'd gotten around to this series. Taking place in Harlem, the story revolves around a naive man called Jackson who, when we first meet him, gets taken in by a team of fraudsters who convince him they can "raise" denominations of 10 dollars into 100 dollar bills. There's plenty of humour there, which combines well with the otherwise hardboiled world of gangsterism, drugs and violence. Not for the faint of heart, but deeply satisfying if you like your mysteries served up on the tough side.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful