View Full Version : Chester Himes' Harlem Cycle

Paul L
07-16-2011, 04:34 AM

Between fifteen and twenty years ago, I read a handful of Chester Himes' books, including at least two of the books in Himes' 'Harlem Cycle'. However, it's so long ago now that I can barely remember them.

The majority of the Harlem Cycle has recently been republished over here, and I'm planning on buying them and reading all of the books in the series. Does anyone have a recommendation as to which is the best book in the series? (I'm not too bothered about reading the books in chronological order.)


07-18-2011, 10:12 AM
I've always been partial to "Blind Man With A Pistol"

Barry M
07-18-2011, 01:53 PM
I can't remember. (The one that starts with the back to Africa scam? Don't remember if I got past page one. I had a problem with laying books down and leaving them at one point, now largely solved by not picking them up.)

James Sallis' biography of Himes is somewhere at home, though, and I know I haven't read that, so that's something.

Sallis riffs heavily on Himes in his Lew Griffin books, by the way -- I imagine anybody into Himes would find them interesting.

This post was of no help.

Paul L
07-18-2011, 05:52 PM
Thanks, Chad and Barry. I've got a copy of BLIND MAN WITH A PISTOL kicking about someplace, so I may dig that book out and read it. (It wasn't one of the volumes republished earlier this year, sadly.)

I've never read Sallis' biography of Himes, but I've read quite a few of Sallis' novels, including one of the Lew Griffin books (BLUEBOTTLE), and enjoyed them. For a long time, I've intended to read Sallis' DEATH WILL HAVE YOUR EYES, but that's another issue for another day...

07-19-2011, 10:45 AM
Cotton Comes To Harlem is also a fantastic book, I've got a soft spot for Coffin Ed and Gravedigger though