With sensual, often brutal accuracy, Claude McKay traces the parallel paths of two very different young men struggling to find their way through the suspicion and prejudice of American society. At the same time, this stark but moving story touches on the central themes of the Harlem Renaissance, including the urgent need for unity and identity among blacks.
An enlightening trip through Harlem--from its colorful street life and its incomparable jazz venues to its back rooms, where drinking, drugging, gambling, and women helped some take a load off. Jake Brown is a lover of life and takes in all that Harlem has to offer like a long, cool drink. Though he's subjected to the same oppression as those around him, he chooses to rise above it and delight in the blessings he does have. Ray, on the other hand has been defeated one too many times, and despite, or perhaps because of, having a formal education, he is bent on revolt. First published in 1928, this was Claude McKay's first novel.