An African American Breakfast at Tiffany’s –a hip, refreshingly candid tale of identity and self—discovery from the critically acclaimed author of The View from Here and Walking Through Mirrors.
Mason Randolph, a black preppie of impeccable Southern pedigree, is bound for Stanford Law School after graduating from college. Before embarking on the path to his golden future, however, he takes a detour through Harlem, where he intends to live "authentically" with " real black people."
Mason takes the name "Malik" and moves into the orbit of the ever—fabulous Carmen, uptown diva and doyenne of Harlem. Carmen, always ready to have a handsome young man at her fabulous soirees and to add to her devoted entourage, happily takes him under her wing. Fueled by his parents' money and dodging the people who remember him as Mason Randolph, "Malik" masquerades as a "ghettonian," exploring the wonders and pleasures of a Harlem in the midst of a second Renaissance. But his odyssey takes a different turn when he meets Kyra, whose world mirrors the one he has abandoned. As he contemplates the choices Kyra has made, and begins to reexamine his own presumptions about identity and authenticity, Mason realizes that everyone has something to hide and that to get what we want, we have to be willing to let go of our secrets.
People compared Brian Keith Jackson's remarkable first novel, The View from Here , to the works of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, and Publishers Weekly called it "an extraordinary debut...[by] a formidable craftsman and exceptionally gifted storyteller." A novel rich in humor and insight, The Queen of Harlem will earn Jackson a much—deserved place in the center of today’s literary landscape.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Queen of Harlem|
|Release Date: 05-21-2002|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Queen of Harlem|
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The Queen of Harlem
I'd been staying at Jim's East Village apartment for two weeks, but as we sat in his favorite bar on East Fourth Street downing dollar drafts, the air was let out of the keg.
"Listen, Mason, it's been cool having you crash, but if you wanna keep kicking it in New York you're gonna need to find your own place."
Jim was your average hipster whose claim to fame was that he was the first white guy, that he knew, to have dreadlocks. All summer I had been twisting my hair, trying to attach myself to something associated with black heritage.
"I know. I've been looking," I said. "I've checked the ads every day."
"Fuck the ads," said Jim, holding up his empty mug to the tattooed bartender. "Just tell everybody you meet that you're looking. It's the only way. That's how I found my place."
The "place" was a railroad flat. At least that's what they're called in New York. In the South it's called a shotgun house. But at that moment it was more than I had.
I'd crossed out all the possible ads but one remained:
TO SHARE TOWN HOUSE
450/month. Rarely home
No. 20 W. 120th St.
Appt. 4-4:15, 15 October
I'd circled it as a lark. Sure, I was going to go to Harlem, at some point, to check it out, but I'd never really considered living there.
"Please be sure to take all of your belongings when leaving the train. And be mindful of your wallets, for the hand in your pocket may not be your own." Voice over the intercom of the 6 train, tunneling through Manhattan's East Side.
I got out of the subway at 125th Street, and the rush of color, fabric as well as...