In his debut novel, Whitehead creates a noir world of warring elevator inspectors: the Empiricists and the Intuitionists. The novel is reminiscent of Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" (another of my favorites!) in matters of race, politics, and class, with a humorous and ironic narrative twist. Whitehead showcases an incredible imagination, sly wit, and an extensive vocabulary.
Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist wowed critics and readers everywhere and marked the debut of an important American writer. This marvellously inventive, genre-bending, noir-inflected novel, set in the curious world of elevator inspection, portrays a universe parallel to our own, where matters of morality, politics, and race reveal unexpected ironies.
About the Author
Colson Whitehead was born in New York City in 1969. His journalism has appeared in Vibe, Spin, Newsday, and The Village Voice, where he was a television columnist. A graduate of Harvard College, he currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Praise for The Intuitionist…
"The freshest racial allegory since Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye."
--Walter Kirn, Time
"Ingenious and starkly original...Literary reputations may not always rise and fall as predictably as elevators, bit if there's any justice in the world of fiction, Colson Whitehead's should be heaing toward the upper floors."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Magical. . . . The Intuitionist ranks alongside Catch-22, V, The Bluest Eye and other groundbreaking first novels. . . . Whitehead shares Heller's sense of the absurd, Pynchon's operatic expansiveness and Morrison's deconstruction of race and racism." --San Francisco Chronicle
"The most engaging literary sleuthing you'll read this year. . . . What makes the novel so extraordinary is the ways in which Whitehead plays with notions of race."
"Whitehead's prose is graceful and often lyrical, and his elevator underworld is a complex, lovingly realized creation."
--The New Yorker
"The Intuitionist is the story of a love affair with the steel and stone, machinery and architecture of the city. It's not a pretty love, but a working-class passion for the stench of humanity that its heroine, Lila Mae Watson, has made her own. But as always with love there is betrayal. This extraordinary novel is the first voice in a powerful chorus to come."