Û Read ✓ La reine des pommes by Chester Himes ↠´ Looking eastward from the towers of Riverside Church, perched among the university buildings on the high banks of the Hudson River, in a valley far below, waves of gray rooftops distort the perspective like the surface of a sea Below the surface, in the murky waters of fetid tenements, a city of black people who are convulsed in desperate living, like the voracious churning of millions of hungry cannibal fish Blind mouths eating their own guts Stick in a hand and draw back a nub.
That is Harlem For Love of Imabelle paperback first editionThis book was originally published in a paperback original under the title For Love of Imabelle The original title is very apt because the book is all about one man s crazy obsession with a woman named Imabelle In the 1980s an English publisher named Allison Busby decided to reprint the Harlem Cycle in hardcover They us I ve been wanting to read Chester Himes for a while so when I saw this available as an audio book and that Samuel L Jackson narrated it, I downloaded it so fast that smoke was coming out of my laptop.
Set in Harlem in the 1950s, it features a hard working church going man Jackson whose girlfriend Imabelle has hooked him up with shady characters who can raise money by taking ten dollar bills and turning them into hundreds Jackson gathers all the cash he can for the conversion, but when a cop shows up in the middle of the raising process, Jackson has not only lost his life savings, he has to steal from his boss at a funeral home to bribe the cop Desperate to locate Imabelle who he thinks must be in danger and on the run from the police after this theft, Jackson goes to his brother for help You ve probably guessed that Jackson i
read by Samuel Jackson, this was an absolute auditory treat, keeping me transfixed on the drive from Georgia to Kentucky.
Expecting something of the snoozy literary bent, I discovered a tight little story of the dark comedy thriller school set in Harlem in the 1950s Jackson has scraped together every last cent to get his money raised up from 10 bills to 100 bills Though he has a job in a funeral home, he would like to make a good life for his new girlfriend at least, once she gets divorced from her missing husband As the money cooks, the stove blows up and a FBI agent raids the kitchen Jackson finds himself holding the bag and driven to contact his twin brother who operates in the fringes of the criminal world What follows is a bunch of escalating craziness as everyone tries for a cut of the action, and poor ol Jackson the character is the simplet Preface It s taking me a couple of weeks since I finished A Rage in Harlem to decide the tone to take in writing my review To frame it in a way that calmly, invitingly, properly, in a scholarly fashion, metaphorically, smacks every reader upside the head and, once I ve gotten his her attention, communicate persuasively that this is one of the best, most overlooked, most mis read American novels Ever And it s a masterpiece And you need to read it So much for calm, persuasive invitation I also sought to write a review that was less than blunt and didn t reveal my personal politics and perspective on issues of race and literature in America So much for that, too.
Warning this isn t the usual social media me that endeavors to smooth This was the first book I read by Chester Himes and I loved it It was exciting, well written, darkly comic, and unexpectedly absurd while still being noir to its core Because of his love for his sexy lady friend the loose, conniving, high yellow ImabelleShe smelled of burnt hair grease, hot bodied woman, and dime store perfume, simple and square working man Jackson loses all of his money to some con men, setting off a chain reaction that leads to a funeral home robbery, acid throwing, a runaway hearse, and a plot involving a trunk full of 18 karat gold ore In order to navigate this dangerous terrain, Jackson gets the help of his resourceful twin brother Goldy, who makes his living impersonating a Sister of Mercy nun, soliciting bogus charity donations and selling tickets to heaven on the streets of Harlem Sounds awesome doesn t it It gets even better.
Here s a sampl Colored folks and trouble, Jackson thought, like two mules hitched to the same wagonChester Himes, A Rage in HarlemFunny as hell Brilliant Absurd Subversive This shit was published in 1959 Some of the best AAVE I ve ever read and the imagery Himes pulls out kills me This is my first Himes, but definitely not my last I think I ll read The Real Cool Killers and If He Hollers Let Him Go I spent a couple days in Harlem earlier this year with my wife I love recognizing the geography Himes describes Its been 60 years, but somethings, apparently, in New York, don t change much Here s a good example of his fluencyLooking eastward from the towers of Riverside Church, perched among the university buildings on the high banks of the Hudson River, in a valley far below, waves of gray rooftops distort the perspective like the surface of a sea B
The period of the story was probably early 1950s and starts out with Jackson, Imabelle, Hank, and Jodie in Jackson s apartment The confidence team which includes Imabelle has convinced Jackson that Hank can turn Jac 9 10Looking eastward from the towers of Riverside Church, perched among the university buildings on the high banks of the Hudson River, in a valley far bellow, waves of gray rooftops distort the perspective like the surface of the sea Below the surface, in the murky waters of fetid tenements, a city of black people who are convulsed in desperate living, like the voracious churning of millions of hungry cannibal fish Blind mouths eating their own guts Stick in a hand and draw back a nub.
That is Harlem The story could have been funny, with its screwball comedy plot and its cast of colourful characters like the huge coloured man dressed up in nun habit , but what is left in my memory is a bitter aftertaste of a world that shouldn t exist so close to the soaring towers of glass and steel of M A Dark And Witty Work Of Hardboiled Detective Fiction Set In The Mean Streets Of New York, Chester Himes S A Rage In Harlem Includes An Introduction By Luc Sante In Penguin Modern ClassicsJackson S Woman Has Found Him A Foolproof Way To Make Money A Technique For Turning Ten Dollar Bills Into Hundreds But When The Scheme Somehow Fails, Jackson Is Left Broke, Wanted By The Police And Desperately Racing To Get Back Both His Money And His Loving Imabelle The First Of Chester Himes S Novels To Feature The Hardboiled Harlem Detectives Coffin Ed Johnson And Grave Digger Jones, A Rage In Harlem Has Swagger, Brutal Humour, Lurid Violence, A Hearse Loaded With Gold And A Conman Dressed As A Sister Of MercyChester Himes Was Born In Jefferson City, Missouri And Grew Up In Cleveland Aged He Was Arrested For Armed Robbery And Sentenced To To Years In Jail In Jail He Began To Write Short Stories, Some Of Which Were Published In Esquire Upon Release He Took A Variety Of Jobs From Working In A California Shipyard To Journalism To Script Writing While Continuing To Write Fiction He Later Moved To Paris Where He Was Commissioned By La S Rie Noire To Write The First Of His Harlem Detective Novels, A Rage In Harlem, Which Won The Grand Prix Du Roman Policier, And Was Adapted Into A Film Starring Forest Whitaker And Danny GloverIf You Enjoyed A Rage In Harlem, You Might Like Raymond Chandler S The Big Sleep And Other Novels, Also Available In Penguin Modern Classics The Greatest Find In American Crime Fiction Since Raymond Chandler Sunday Times A Rage in Harlem is a novel that should NOT be read just for plot Let s face it the plot in this story is kind of a comical farce that combines humor with violence, a scam that backfires and leads to all sorts of mayhem complete with requisite crazy chase scene throughout Harlem , a naive central character named Jackson and his brother who tries to protect him from some very bad people who are completely out of his league Sadly, I m discovering that few people who read this book care about what s going on outside of the plot, and in my opinion, this is a freakin travesty In all honesty, the plot is just so so the focus should really be on Harlem of the 1950s, the people in this place, and above all, race I think reading it as a photograph of Harlem of the time is of what Chester Himes had on his mind, although I realize I m