NYC Novels

[By Kenton Rambsy]
22 novels in the “100 Novels Collection” that take place in New York City or have major scenes in New York. A closer look at these novels and authors and their relationships to each other reveals useful ideas about literary history.
In the 22 novels featured in this exhibit, NYC—most often, Harlem—was a central location for each novel’s storyline. Possibly, the prevalence of urban areas such as New York City as settings for novels indicates that writers view city environments as fertile grounds for positioning their narratives.

  • Go Tell It on The Mountain (1953) James Baldwin
  • Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994)  Edwidge Danticat
  • The Sport of the Gods (1902) Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • Invisible Man (1952)  Ralph Ellison
  • The Walls of Jericho (1928) Rudolph Fisher
  • The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (*1927) James Weldon Johnson
  • Eva’s Man (1976)  Gayl Jones
  • The Cotillion: or, One Good Bull Is Half the Herd (1971)  John Oliver Killens
  • Quicksand (1928)  Nella Larsen
  • Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959) Paule Marshall
  • Home to Harlem (1928) Claude McKay
  • Jazz (1992) Toni Morrison
  • Tar Baby (1981) Toni Morrison
  • Mama Day (1988) Gloria Naylor
  • The Women of Brewster Place (1982) Gloria Naylor
  • The Street (1946) Ann Petry
  • The Outsider (1953) Richard Wright
  • Black No More (1931) George Schuyler
  • The Coldest Winter Ever (2000) Sister Souljah
  • The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970) Alice Walker
  • The Intuitionist (1999) Colson Whitehead
  • The Man Who Cried I Am (1967) John A. Williams

[Related: 30 Days of 100 Novels]