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The Last Block In Harlem

The Last Block In Harlem [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Herz
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Description Review

“Herz has brought us a huge heart into whose chambers we can peer and see the many compartments that make it pulse and continue to keep the body of society alive. A great book for both the young and the old, The Last Block in Harlem will surprise you and make you remember just how much we all need each other to survive.” —Book Room Reviews

“This story does have an extremely perplexing psychological twist that you will need to pay close attention to. The Last Block in Harlem is a thought-provoking debut novel by Christopher Herz.” —Urban Reviews

"I've never been to Harlem, but I feel like I have after reading this book. The author has a rare talent for recreating the sights, sounds, and smells of the neighborhood, (not to mention realistically depicting the characters who populate it)." —Karen McQuestion, author of A Scattered Life and The Edgewood series

A Visit to St. Nicholas Place
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Product Description

On the last block in Harlem, stereos are plugged into lampposts and kids still run through water blasting from fire hydrants. Occupying one of the fire escapes above it all, a young couple attempts to start their life over. However, they find the echoes of their past choices hard to ignore, and are soon caught between the "progress" of the new housing developments and the comfort that exists in nostalgia.

Product details

More About the Author

Christopher Herz took to selling copies of his first book, The Last Block in Harlem, on the streets of New York. His unorthodox efforts and fresh contemporary prose garnered the attention of media outlets everywhere, earning him an early spot on the AmazonEncore roster. AmazonEncore then republished the book to critical acclaim, and his novel Pharmacology was released a year later.

Herz is a graduate of the San Francisco State University creative writing program and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, where he writes extensively on art and culture. Born in New York City, Herz grew up in California, the setting for his searing portrait of American life, Hollywood Forever. He now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another world, well played. 28 April 2011
By Lisa Maynard VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the story of a man's attempt to find himself through the lives of others, whilst dropping out of normal society and all that is expected of him. There is a gap in the world for people to do this, and this book explores that wonderfully. The tone and pacing of this book is beautiful, I want to write to the author and ask him his secret! The narrator is very introverted and we are passers-by on his street and all that he sees around him but you can definitely feel and smell and hear everything that is going on. It's an amazing book, very rich and colourful, but muted and subdued at the same time, completely underplayed. Hats off to the author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The last block in harlem 14 Oct 2011
By Fiona Massey VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This wonderful little book is a colourful and engrossing little novel, at times you feel as though you are stood on the streets of Harlem, watching the lives of others, the colourful richness of the writing, the descriptiveness of the atmosphere, even the smells and sounds around.
The book had me believing at times that I was thinking the words in my own head, rather than reading them from the pages of a book, the descriptiveness was that vivid and engrossing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to get lost in a book from the first to final pages!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive first novel 13 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a difficult book to categorise; it is realist in tone and language but the plot twists into the realm of fantasy towards the end, obliging the reader to accept a rather contrived and somewhat gimmicky device to round the story off. I`m not convinced that every reader would accept this sudden shock, which is more at home within Hollywood scripting than quality literature, but that is for the reader to decide.
That caveat aside, this is an absorbing and thought provoking novel which will stay with you long after you have read it; as a good piece of literary art, it raises far more questions about the issues it deals with than it answers; the cynicism of corporate America which the narrator rejects, the self-serving nature of politicians, the process of change within an urban community - these are universal issues which any city-dweller can identify with - it could be anywhere in the world, but to his credit Herz makes Harlem something iconic in the mind of the reader. It did for me, anyway, and I will be thinking of them for some time to come.
As an incomer, the un-named hero has a fixed perception of the community he joins, little realising that the events he triggers by his well-meaning actions jeopardises and ultimately kills the things he loves. As a tale of one individual setting out to change his own life by bettering his surroundings and by gaining the acceptance of the people around him, Herz presents us with a collage of characters, some with a brief and often poignant story to add to the overall picture - an interesting and enriching concept within the narrative. This hero makes mistakes, has small victories, is taken in by the promise of real change and has to compromise - he is, in the end, only human which I think, resonates all the more with the reader.
This is a book I would certainly recommend despite my opening reservations; it is thoughtful, insightful, quite moving and impressive as a first novel. Reading it won`t hurt you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good and certainly makes you think 4 Oct 2011
By AndyS
Format:Kindle Edition
Not my usual kind of book but really enjoyed this. It certainly makes you think about the consequences of your actions! A very good first novel and one that i would recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last Block In Harlem 11 May 2011
By Ryan
I came across The Last Block In Harlem by, for me, a rather unconventional way. I sent a tweet out to my followers asking them to recommend a book for me to read. It was then that Christopher got in touch suggesting The Last Block In Harlem. Having appreciated Christophers time in contacting me I thought it only fair to give it a shot. And..... Im glad I Did. I can't describe it, but the book was a perfect read for me at that moment in time. I could draw many parallels between the narrators story and my own life. And at times felt the book was written just for me.
I could really identify with the characters, even across a culture divide, which is testament to the deeper personal and social issues touched on.
The clarity of the language and quick retorts between characters made the book very easy and enjoyable to read. I literally couldnt put it down, as I neared the end of each chapter I was compelled to read on, as a result I read in in 3 sittings.

A good read and I recommend it to people looking for a good story well told.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Life 25 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Beautifully written a pleasure to read,, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story with a poetic rendering,
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Such a great start 31 Mar 2011
By lovemurakami TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The opening of this novel is great. The writing is strong and you feel as if you are going to read something special. It feels semi-autobiographical, with the unnamed narrator telling the story of how his block is the last block fighting against the gentrification of Manhattan neighbourhoods which has gradually turned Manhattan Island into an place where only the rich can afford to live.

You get a wonderful feeling of the block and some of the characters and the plot moves along quite well until about halfway and then it starts falling to pieces. The writing isn't so strong and the plot disintegrates. For a first novel this isn't a bad read, whether I would read his next, am not sure, but if you are looking for something that is slightly different and a new voice, then this could be the read for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Only half way through this book but find myself going back to it more and more
Published 1 month ago by M. A. Stearn
4.0 out of 5 stars happiness and sadness intertwined in this book
the story of one man's experience of trying to change the world starting in his street - a good story
Published 1 month ago by Choka Holik
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
Not my usual choice of book, but
something caught me in those first few pages and kept me till the last few. Read more
Published 2 months ago by janet anne
4.0 out of 5 stars New York revisited
Having recently visited NY for the first time, I found myself back there walking the streets with the author, it's a wonderful first novel, beautifully written, very funny,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by C.A.T. A.
1.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what to say
I wouldn't recommend this book at all. It doesn't make sense! It's self indulgent weirdness! Random!
Ended very strangely and not convinced.
Published 6 months ago by Julie
3.0 out of 5 stars Be ready for the twist at the end
The book is beautifully written, and almost, but not quite believable until at the very last part, when I felt it ran into trouble, and the writer took an ALMOST believable story... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sheila Williams
2.0 out of 5 stars The Last Block in Harlem
Thought the story just prodded along but didn't seem to go anywhere. Couldn't really engage with any of the characters. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Teresa Jewett
3.0 out of 5 stars Last Block In Harlem
Have been reading this novel for what seams to be forever. Has taken such a long time to get going. Now it appears to be moving along quite quickly but only a halfway point... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mike the money source
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind provoking
I found the book intriguing as to where it was going and was surprised at the ending. It is a good read of someone's social and personal struggle. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Miss Read
4.0 out of 5 stars Different
A well constructed story. Wasn't sure at first where it was going, but as the pages turned you become involved in the various characters on 'the block'. Worth a read.
Published 11 months ago by bloomers
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“You know, we all have the same time in one day. What you do with it is the only thing different about us. &quote;
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There’s no nobility in carrying your past with each step you take.” &quote;
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Each time you give in like that, each time you back away from something you believe in, a piece of you dies that can never be brought back to life. Don’t let anyone tell you not to care. It all matters. Everything. &quote;
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