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This debut novel by the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad wowed critics and readers everywhere and marked the debut. In a deftly plotted mystery and quest tale that’s also a teasing intellectual adventure, Whitehead traces the continuing education of Lila Mae. The Intuitionist: A Novel [Colson Whitehead] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This debut novel by the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The .

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The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead | : Books

As well as a noir mystery, this book also alludes to the varying black experience in white America. Not that this novel has the weight or import of that classic, but I experienced a confusion with each that seemed somehow tied to So, remember that on GoodReads three stars means “I liked it. Some said “it’s about elevators” others said “it’s all about race”. The time period is as murky whitehed the setting; the elevator technology is highly developed, but the inspectors have typewriters on their desks.

Lila Mae Watson is the first colored woman author’s terminology to achieve her badge as an elevator inspector–and she is in Intuitionist, with the best record of anyone in the department.


If there’s one knock against the novel, it’s that Lila–by design no doubt–is an introverted, cold-hearted character. Enter Colson Whitehead’s the Intuitionist, a book that manages to make the entire problem seem both familiar and alien at once.

His prose here, even at the outset of his career, dances and delights; his storytelling is gifted and compelling; his eye is as keen and striking as it is all these years later. It’s fascinating and complex, and much like an elevator–gears, weights, counterweights, artistry, and while the purpose is clear, the mechanism of the parallels are not so obvious that the reader feels overpowered.


Now I think there are whiteheaf lot more of us writing and a lot more different areas we’re exploring. Sep 27, Christy rated it really liked it Shelves: View all 7 comments.

The Intuitionist

I admire this in the same way I do an elegant five-course meal, but what I was looking for was more mac-and-cheese. The Intuitionists were founded by James Fulton, a brilliant but eccentric theorist, now deceased. Didn’t love the ontuitionist kinda thought it was a bit of a cop out.

The writing in Zone One my review was astonishing enough that I resolved to seek out more of his work.

Yes, Lila must solve a mystery, and the mystery pulls the reader along nicely from intro to outro. I enjoyed it as a read, I was intellectually engaged, but it reminded me a intuitinoist of high school English class, without the note-passing we didn’t have texting in those days. The time, never identified explicitly, is one when black people are called “colored” and integration is a current topic.

As other commenters have noted, the allegory in this story is very, very simple but goes on for way too long. Their creation has shaped the form and intuitionjst of cities; buildings with arrangements intuitionisy floors vertically stacked ad infinitum up into the sky, a concept itself only possible as a result of reliable, mechanical elevation.

I don’t particularly whitheead any of the characters. I’ll hold off rating this one until I think about it a bit Allegory and all that. When Number Eleven of 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” whifehead of ascertaining elevator safety, both Intuitionists and Empiricists recognize the set-up, but may be willing to let Lila Mae take the fall in an election year.

This is used to show that there is always more than one way to approach any topic, any reality that you can interact with. I don’t know if enough people have read Vineland for tha So dense that I had to take breaks to rest my brain, and so good that I almost want to take a college lit class where it’s on the syllabus so I can hear people say smart things about it.


A terrible accident occurs – and it looks like Lila Mae is going to be framed as the one culpable. On the surface, it’s a pulpy noir fiction, set in a roughly parallel world to ours, ugly racism warts and all, in an unnamed New York, during perhaps the s.

I’ll just let my thoughts continue to bubble around in my head and encourage you to read this book yourself so that you can have bubbles too. We read it in a single day, one which left us bruised from all the cliches and the noir tropes which were further wrinkled with the riddle of race.

This feels like the kind of book intuitiomist could read in a literature class and discuss for about a million years. Whitehead’s strategy is a brilliant one, the kind of idea that must whiteheax struck him at an odd moment, like in the dentist’s chair or while listening to maudlin elevator music. I’d like to pause for a moment and just admire the mind-twist for those that deride zombie books.

The Intuitionist – Wikipedia

You might even think it sounds dull. Dec 12, J. It’s set in the past somewhere from the 20s to the 40s? Sep 22, A. On a personal level, I haven’t been this bored reading a book in a while.