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Apex Hides the Hurt: A Novel Hardcover – Import, 21 March 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 ratings

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Product description

From The New Yorker

The nameless narrator of Whitehead's trenchantly funny and moral third novel is a melancholic "nomenclature consultant," who devises names for such products as Apex, a bandage sold in an array of skin tones. Flashbacks from his professional heyday are spliced into present-day scenes that show him trapped in the small town of Winthrop, deciding whether its name should be changed to Freedom (the name given it by liberated ex-slaves) or New Prospera (the brainchild of a software tycoon). Whitehead deftly cloaks his cynical take on race and consumer culture in his narrator's earnest philosophizing. He and the narrator are obsessed with the power of language both to deceive, as in the satirically observed evasions of marketing-speak, and to soothe: "Shuttle bus shuttle bus sounded like leaves whispering to each other in your textbook primordial glen.... He was feeling better already."
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Whitehead, a MacArthur fellow, continues his shrewd and playful inquiry into the American soul in a fresh and provocative tale about a man who comes up with catchy product names. A consultant who names things yet who remains nameless, his claim to fame is the brand name Apex for multiculturally hued Band-Aids. Curiously, he has lost a toe under peculiar circumstances that jibe with the cost of hiding the hurt, per the Apex tagline, and now, limping and moody, he arrives in Winthrop, a small town determined to rename itself. He visits with the last Winthrop, the eccentric descendant of the family that once bankrolled the town with its barbed-wire factory, and is schmoozed by Lucky, CEO of the town's current money magnet, a software company, and Regina, the town's mayor, who traces her roots to the freed slaves who founded the town and called it Freedom. As his stoic hero broods over Winthrop's mixed and vaguely menacing messages, Whitehead marvels over the inventive extravagance and frenzy of American commercialism. Kindred spirit to Stanley Elkin, William Gaddis, and Paul Auster, Whitehead archly explicates the philosophy of excess and the poetics of ludicrousness, and he incisively assesses the power inherent in the act of naming. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product details

  • Publisher : Doubleday (21 March 2006)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 038550795X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0385507950
  • Item Weight : 476 g
  • Dimensions : 14.83 x 2.08 x 21.69 cm
  • Country of Origin : USA
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 42 ratings

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