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Still Life in Harlem: A Memoir - Eddy L. Harris

Still Life in Harlem: A Memoir

Author: Eddy L. Harris
Book title: Still Life in Harlem: A Memoir
ISBN: 0805048529
ISBN13: 978-0805048520
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; First Trade edition (September 15, 1997)
Language: English
Category: Arts & Literature
Rating: 4.6/5
Votes: 523
Pages: 288 pages
More formats: doc mbr lit azw

Reviews: (6)
Nanecele
Mr Harris speaks eloquently of a world that 95% of Americans cannot see, but need to understand.
GODMAX
His words His works..He brings us full circle from the River through the South and Africa to Harlem. Stopping here he treats the urban memory with as much wit detail and pain as he can muster.. This book completes the voyage, or does it suggest the voyage should continue?
Kigabar
I loved Harris's Mississippi Solo, so I found another of his books, and started it with great anticipation. Very much enjoyed the first half of the book. Harris speaks about race (in that half) in a thoughtful, interesting, useful way. In a way, actually, that is quite uncommon, and thus highly welcome. He seemed like the kind of guy I, or anyone, could have a real conversation with about a somewhat controversial topic. And then. And then. So sad. Very disappointing. At about the two-thirds mark, Harris suddenly goes on a bit of a rant that anyone who asks questions is a racist, reasonable questions that reference personal responsibility, work ethic, etc. Not allowed, apparently. Harris says that unless someone lives in Harlem, or a similar environment, he/she has no understanding and thus has no right to ask questions or even, really, have an opinion (other than one that aligns with his). He actually ended a friendship with someone who dared to ask questions.

So sad, because he ruined that excellent first half with that paragraph of rant. Completely shut down any possibility of dialogue.
watching to future
Another reviewer mentioned Langston Hughes. This book immediately brought Hughes' poem "Harlem" to mind.
Harris' book starts with a scream in the city and ends with the witnessing of, not just the fall of the Harlem Renaissance and all its dreams, but also of the contemporary act of violence that began the scream. The very act of witnessing itself helps ameliorate the violence - and perhaps softens feelings of loss for those earlier dreams of Harlem as an artistic and intellectual homeland (and more). This is such a moving book, not least because of Harris' own family link to Harlem in its heyday. It lets us, as readers, explore our own emotional and philosophic links to the idea of what Harlem was, and could have been. I like to think that my own great aunt, who began and ended her life on a Southern cotton plantation - but who spent the middle of it in a flat near the Apollo theater - would have been moved to join Mr Harris in his act of witnessing. Thanks Eddy, there is clearly still life in Harlem.
Angana
AND WHEN I FIRST STARTED READING THIS BOOK IT REMINDED ME OF LANGSTON HUGHES POEM "THE WEARY BLUES" BECAUSE IN THE WEARY BLUES HE TALKES ABOUT HARLEM(DOWN ON LENOX AVENUR THE OTHER NIGHT) AND WHAT HE HEARD AND FELT WHEN HE WALKED THE STREATS OF HARLEM(125TH STREET)
romrom
Reminded me of the things about my heritage that is seen everytime a non-African American sees me on the street; the things about myself that society wants me to forget if I want to "make it". Illustrated the point that we could never assimilate into American society because our skin color will always remind folks of the history of exclusion, inequity, and distruction of the Black race. Finally, rekindled the desire to put something back into society - Black society.
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