The Sweet Flypaper of Life

The Sweet Flypaper of Life Photos by DeCarava poetry by Hughes set in a Harlem neighborhood told from a woman s point of view as she looks through her apartment window

  • Title: The Sweet Flypaper of Life
  • Author: Langston Hughes Roy DeCarava
  • ISBN: 9780882581521
  • Page: 293
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Photos by DeCarava, poetry by Hughes, set in a Harlem neighborhood, told from a woman s point of view as she looks through her apartment window.

    423 Comment

    • Jayna says:

      A wonderful book of photographs. This book came out in 1955 and was accompanied with a text by poet Langston Hughes. I first read about this book in a book of highlights from MOMA. Here's a quote from that book: "The book has been praised as a sympathetic view of everyday life in Harlem, New York, drawn by two members of the community rather than by visiting sociologists or reformers. The praise is reasonable as far as it goes, but it fails to note the originality of the photographs DeCarava mad [...]

    • David says:

      Wonderful monochrome 1950s-Harlem street photographs by Roy DeCarava, to which Langston Hughes added an introduction and narrative text. Hughes's narrative is from the point of view of a not-having-allowed herself-to-be-marginalised woman as she gazes through her apartment window. A book of delights in many ways.

    • Storytime says:

      I love this book. I can now say I have a favorite book. Why has this book gone out of print? It is The Masterpiece.

    • Dan says:

      Have to be honest, although this is a great collaboration between DeCarava and Hughes, I wasn't able to kick away the fact that 'the text of this book was entirely fictional' and that the photos were a selection of DeCarava's photography, taken Not for the purpose of creating this book but rather brought to Hughes to be made into a publishable book. Having this at the back of my head while reading, I had the feeling that the storyline was a bit forced into a whole - this book lacks the level of [...]

    • Julia says:

      I love Langston Hughes and I love the photography of Roy DeCarava. I appreciate the history behind this book (DeCarava received a Guggenheim Fellowship that allowed him to photograph life in Harlem. He got together with Langston Hughes to craft text that went with his work) and I'm glad I picked it up.If you're a person who loves Langston Hughes, the work of Roy DeCarava, the history of Harlem you'll appreciate and see the value of this title.

    • Dan says:

      This is more than a photo book. Langston Hughes has taken some of Roy DeCarava's photos and written a story about them. It's an illustrated story, in other words, but the photos had existed before the story. It's an interesting take on the photo book and I would reread this in the future.

    • John Edmonds says:


    • Marianna says:

      Beautiful. "I'm so tangled up in living, I ain't got time to die."

    • Jabali Sawicki says:

      Finally found a used copy of this for $2.00 at the Berkeley Flea Market. Absolutely beautiful book! Powerful images and words. Will cherish it forever and come back to it often.

    • Kenne Jones says:


    • Jane Somers says:

      This was delightful. And sometimes sad. No wonder all of the photographers in Through A Lens Darkly cited it as huge influence. It's out of print and rare, but I was lucky to find it at the library.

    • Kyle Williams says:

      This book is a small masterpiece. You can read it in one sitting but come back to it forever; Roy DeCarava's photos are striking and intimate, and Langston Hughes has always been a master of the sentence. That this is out of print is criminal.

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