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STILL LIFE IN HARLEM

Harris, Eddy L.

45 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0805048510 / ISBN 13: 9780805048513
Published by Henry Holt & Co, New York, 1996
Hardcover
From Rare Book Cellar (Pomona, NY, U.S.A.)

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Very Good in a Very Good dust jacket. ; 7.60 X 4.60 X 1.10 inches; 276 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 75442

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Bibliographic Details

Title: STILL LIFE IN HARLEM

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co, New York

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: First Edition; First Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

A memoir of Harlem brings to life the spirit of its people, chronicling its pastoral days through its transformation into a symbol of urban despair, as seen by a writer with deep emotional ties to the area. 25,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo. Tour.

Review:

That Still Life in Harlem can bring to mind the words of W. E. B. DuBois illustrates the deeply thoughtful nature of this book written by Eddy L. Harris. "Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question," W. E. B. DuBois wrote in The Souls of Black Folk, "How does it feel to be a problem?" This question is central to Harris's book, and he asks it of both Harlem and himself.

Harris lived in Harlem until he was ten years old, when his family moved to the suburbs. This separation enhances Harris's ability to write a critical memoir of Harlem, which he later describes as a "metaphor for black America," but this distance comes at a price. Much of Still Life in Harlem is concerned with the author's own alienation from the neighborhood, and at a deeper level, his alienation from himself. Harris returned to Harlem by choice, yet he cannot help but find the place in many ways disagreeable and disheartening. The situation again calls to mind the resounding words of DuBois, "Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house?" Harris is possessed with the second sight DuBois called "double-consciousness" the means to know the world through the judgments of others, or the habit "of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt." Harris's book is not without its flaws in execution, but it tells an important story in a strong and moving voice.

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