Tuff: A Novel
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As fast-paced and hard-edged as the Harlem streets it portrays, Tuff shows off all of the amazing skill that Paul Beatty showed off in his first novel, The White Boy Shuffle.
Weighing in at 320 pounds, Winston “Tuffy” Foshay, is an East Harlem denizen who breaks jaws and shoots dogs and dreams of millions from his idea Cap’n Crunch: The Movie, starring Danny DeVito. His best friend is a disabled Muslim who wants to rob banks, his guiding light is an ex-hippie Asian woman who worked for Malcolm X, and his wife, Yolanda, he married from jail over the phone. Shrewdly comical as this dazzling novel is, it turns acerbically sublime when the frustrated Tuffy agrees to run for City Council. Smartly irreverent and edgily fierce, Tuff is a bona fide original.
male in an interracial relationship. “But you don’t understand, dating a white girl is an extracurricular activity!” Not wanting to waste his conversion, Spencer moved to New York and enrolled in Hebrew Union’s rabbinical program. Four years later he graduated, second-to-last in his class, and with one job prospect—“kosherizing” the steers in a slaughterhouse in Ames, Iowa. Turning down the offer, Rabbi Throckmorton supplemented his modest trust fund by guest-lecturing at the more liberal
famed agility return. Nigger was fumbling around the spot telling jokes like he Henny Youngman and shit. Talking to himself. I know the boy don’t like Brooklyn, but goddamn, fainting? Many times fools pulled guns on him? Tuffy be like, “Shoot me, motherfucker!” I guess the good thing about fainting in the face of death is that it keeps you from begging. That’s the old Tuffy, running them stairs like the big Kodiak bear of a brother he is. Fariq grinned, recalling how during the summer-long games
Spencer had his newspaper story. 9- THE READING Winston paused at the auditorium’s entrance. The stragglers hurried by, and he saw very few neighborhood faces. Whatever their ethnicity, these were people who only came uptown for the meager portions of soul food at Sylvia’s Restaurant, or to hear a career Negro such as his father pontificate on the challenges faced by black Americans and those enlightened few genuinely sympathetic to the cause. Each loyalist mention of his father’s name from a
owned penises bigger than his. The cold snapping spritz of a newly opened Budweiser called Winston to the end of the bar. There the television loomed over his head at an angle that reminded him of being in a jailhouse day room. A beer can on a collision course with his own slid toward him. Fariq hobbled over and intercepted it, crutches swinging from his arms like pendulums. “Much faggots up in this piece, yo. I was surprised you suggested this spot, this being Brooklyn and all. Faggots and all.
Armello beat him to the card, but just barely. Holding the card down, he pressed the man to show him some money. Stalin took out a twenty. “I don’t play for twenty,” Armello said. “Show me a hundred, I’ll give you two hundred.” The man hesitated. Charles opened up his wallet and removed a stack of twenties. “I’ll take this chap’s bet.” Stalin dug into his pocket, pulled out three crumpled hundred-dollar bills. “Oh shit,” the knot of onlookers gasped. Hands shaking, Fariq placed a small rock on