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The Queen of Harlem: A Novel

About the Book

The Queen of Harlem: A Novel

An African American Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Brian Keith Jackson’s evocative new novel introduces 120th Street’s own Holly Golightly: a champagne-sipping, jet-setting social diva named Carmen England. She’s not what Southerner Mason Randolph had envisioned when he trekked up to Harlem looking for an “authentic” black experience, but after just a few hours in her townhouse he finds himself under her wing, under her spell, and questioning all he’s ever believed about his place in the world.

Probing issues of race and identity through seductive storytelling and a keen wit, Brian Keith Jackson follows Mason as he sheds his preppie persona and emerges as “Malik,” complete with a new vocabulary and a baggy wardrobe--his answer to taunts that he has spent his life as a “black boy blending.” When he interviews to rent a room from Carmen, Mason realizes that masquerading as “Malik” will also win her sympathy, so he sets out to hide the details of his real roots (including his father’s gold card and a promising future at law school). Things get even trickier when Mason meets his dream date, Columbia student Kyra, who brings his identity crisis full circle. Along the way, Mason savors the city against a sparkling backdrop of historic hot spots, Dinah Washington albums, and of course a pearl-ribboned package or two from Tiffany’s.

For anyone who has ever felt caught between two worlds, or anyone who simply enjoys a fresh and satisfying storyline, The Queen of Harlem is fertile ground for conversation. The questions that follow are designed to enhance your discussion and personal reading of The Queen of Harlem. We hope they will also lead you to further topics of inquiry about this rich tale and its vibrant locale.

The Queen of Harlem: A Novel
by Brian Keith Jackson

  • Publication Date: August 22, 2012
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday
  • ISBN-10: 0385502958
  • ISBN-13: 9780385502955