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The Intuitionist by [Colson Whitehead]

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The Intuitionist Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 532 ratings

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About the Author

COLSON WHITEHEAD was born in New York City in 1969. A graduate of Harvard, his journalism has appeared in Vibe, Spin, Newsday and the Village Voice. This is his first novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Amazon.com Review

Verticality, architectural and social, is the lofty idea at the heart of Colson Whitehead's odd, sly, and ultimately irresistible first novel. The setting is an unnamed though obviously New Yorkish high-rise city, the time less convincingly future than deliciously other, as it combines 21st-century engineering feats with 19th-century pork-barrel politics and smoky working-class pubs. Elevators are the technological expression of the vertical idea, and Lila Mae Watson, the city's first black female elevator inspector, is its embattled token of upward mobility.

Lila Mae's good ol' boy colleagues in the Department of Elevator Inspectors are understandably jealous of the flawless record that her natural intelligence and diligence have earned, and understandably delighted when Number Eleven in the newly completed Fanny Briggs Memorial Building goes into deadly free fall just hours after Lila Mae has signed off on it, using the controversial "Intuitionist" method of ascertaining elevator safety. It is, after all, an election year in the Elevator Guild, and the Empiricists would do most anything to discredit the Intuitionist faction. Everyone on both sides assumes that Number Eleven was sabotaged and Lila Mae set up to take the fall. "So complete is Number Eleven's ruin," writes Whitehead, "that there's nothing left but the sound of the crash, rising in the shaft, a fall in opposite: a soul." Lila Mae's doom seems equally irreversible.

Whitehead evokes a world so utterly involving to its own denizens that outside reality does not impinge on its perfect solipsism. We the readers are taken hostage as Lila Mae strives to exonerate herself in this urgent adventure full of government spies, underworld hit men, and seductive double agents. Behind the action, always, is the Idea. Lila Mae's quest reveals the existence of heretofore lost writings by James Fulton, father of Intuitionism, a giant of vertical thought, whose fate is mysteriously entwined with her own. If she is able to find and reveal his plan for the Black Box, the perfect, next-generation elevator, the city as it now exists will instantly be obsolescent. The social and economic implications are huge and the denouement is elegantly philosophical. Most impressive of all is the integrity of Whitehead's prose. Eschewing mere cleverness, resisting showoff word play, he somehow manages to strike a tone that's always funny, always fierce, and always entirely respectful of his characters and their world. May the god of second novels smile as broadly on him as did the god of firsts. --Joyce Thompson

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01M25SRF6
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Fleet; 1st edition (4 May 2017)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 926 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 235 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 532 ratings

About the author

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Colson Whitehead is the author eight novels and two works on non-fiction, including The Underground Railroad, which received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal, the Heartland Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Hurston-Wright Award, and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. The novel is being adapted by Barry Jenkins into a TV series for Amazon. Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys received the Pulitzer Prize, The Kirkus Prize, and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.

A recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship, he lives in New York City.

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
532 global ratings

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Norman Housley
4.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive book, teeming with ideas
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 July 2020
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J A Shahbazian
4.0 out of 5 stars well written
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 November 2021
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biro man
1.0 out of 5 stars A Big Disappointment
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 March 2007
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HELEN REGLAR
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep writing, I will keep reading your books
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 September 2020
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Debra
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 December 2017
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