Chester Himes


Born
in Jefferson City, The United States
July 29, 1909

Died
November 12, 1984

Genre


Chester Bomar Himes began writing in the early 1930s while serving a prison sentence for armed robbery. From there, he produced short stories for periodicals such as Esquire and Abbott's Monthly. When released, he focussed on semi-autobiographical protest novels.

In 1953, Himes emigrated to France, where he was approached by Marcel Duhamel of Gallimard to write a detective series for Série Noire, which had published works from the likes of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson. Himes would be the first black author included in the series. The resulting Harlem Cycle gained him celebrity when he won France's Grand Prix de Littérature Policière for La Reine des Pommes (now known in English as A Rage in Harlem) in 1958. Three of t
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Average rating: 3.9 · 14,385 ratings · 1,324 reviews · 51 distinct worksSimilar authors
A Rage in Harlem (Harlem Cy...

3.91 avg rating — 4,487 ratings — published 1957 — 57 editions
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If He Hollers Let Him Go

by
3.97 avg rating — 1,804 ratings — published 1945 — 20 editions
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The Real Cool Killers (Harl...

3.87 avg rating — 1,589 ratings — published 1958 — 26 editions
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Cotton Comes to Harlem (Har...

3.83 avg rating — 1,592 ratings — published 1964 — 25 editions
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Blind Man with a Pistol (Ha...

3.63 avg rating — 719 ratings — published 1969 — 27 editions
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The Heat's On (Harlem Cycle...

3.90 avg rating — 504 ratings — published 1961 — 31 editions
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The Crazy Kill (Harlem Cycl...

3.88 avg rating — 429 ratings — published 1959 — 26 editions
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All Shot Up (Harlem Cycle, #5)

3.84 avg rating — 434 ratings — published 1960 — 32 editions
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Yesterday Will Make You Cry

3.94 avg rating — 253 ratings — published 1998 — 5 editions
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The Big Gold Dream (Harlem ...

3.70 avg rating — 264 ratings — published 1959 — 27 editions
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More books by Chester Himes…
A Rage in Harlem The Real Cool Killers The Crazy Kill The Big Gold Dream All Shot Up The Heat's On Cotton Comes to Harlem
(9 books)
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3.86 avg rating — 10,149 ratings

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“It seemed so illogical to punish some poor criminal for doing something that civilization taught him how to do so he could have something that civilization taught him how to want. It seemed to him as wrong as if they had hung the gun that shot the man.”
Chester Himes, Yesterday Will Make You Cry

“She held him at arms’ length, looked at the pipe still gripped in his hand, then looked at his face and read him like a book. She ran the tip of her red tongue slowly across her full cushiony, sensuous lips, making them wet-red and looked him straight in the eyes with her own glassy, speckled bedroom eyes.

The man drowned.

When he came up, he stared back, passion cocked, his whole black being on a live-wire edge. Ready! Solid ready to cut throats, crack skulls, dodge police, steal hearses, drink muddy water, live in a hollow log, and take any rape-fiend chance to be once more in the arms of his high-yellow heart.”
Chester Himes, A Rage in Harlem

“This was the neighborhood of the cheap addicts, whisky-heads, stumblebums, the flotsam of Harlem; the end of the line for the whores, the hard squeeze for the poor honest laborers and a breeding ground for crime. Blank-eyed whores stood on the street corners swapping obscenities with twitching junkies. Muggers and thieves slouched in dark doorways waiting for someone to rob; but there wasn't anyone but each other. Children ran down the street, the dirty street littered with rotting vegetables, uncollected garbage, battered garbage cans, broken glass, dog offal — always running, ducking and dodging. God help them if they got caught. Listless mothers stood in the dark entrances of tenements and swapped talk about their men, their jobs, their poverty, their hunger, their debts, their Gods, their religions, their preachers, their children, their aches and pains, their bad luck with the numbers and the evilness of white people. Workingmen staggered down the sidewalks filled with aimless resentment, muttering curses, hating to go to their hotbox hovels but having nowhere else to go.”
Chester Himes

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