Colson Whitehead isn’t done with Ray Carney yet.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author plans to bring back the conflicting protagonist of his latest novel, Harlem Shufflehe confirmed on Twitter.
Responding to a reader who tweeted his praise for the novel, Whitehead wrote, “What a fantastic book #Harlemshuffle is. A real page turner…Scarred with sadness that I won’t be reading any of Ray Carney’s plans again.”
“Don’t be sad, he’s coming back in 2023!” white-headed replied†
— colson whitehead (@colsonwhitehead) December 31, 2021
Harlem Shuffle, published last September by Doubleday, follows furniture salesman Carney in mid-20th century New York as he takes the occasional job as a fence and sells stolen merchandise on behalf of his shady cousin. In a starred review, a Kirkus critic of the novel, who was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, wrote, “As one of Whitehead’s characters might say of their creator, when you’re hot, you’re hot.”
in a interview last year with the New York TimesWhitehead said writing the character Carney was a relief to him after writing his two previous books, The Underground Railway and The Nickel Boyswhich addressed both themes of violent racism.
“After the darkness of the last two books, the levity, Carney’s humble charm, fills a psychological need for me,” Whitehead said. “I could explore the world in a different way that is not tied to these terrible systems of capitalism and institutional racism.”
and in a interview of Sharppublished in October, Whitehead spilled some details about his next project.
“I’m writing a second volume of Carney stories,” he said. ‘We follow him in the seventies. Normally I write a book and I’m done; I’m done with it. But this is the first time I’ve had a character and a world that I’m not done with.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and a regular contributor to NPR.