The Intuitionist Book

Lila Mae is the anti-heroine of this startling debut by American journalist Colson Whitehead. The first coloured elevator inspector in the city, she is a pupil of the Intuitionist school of thought and is able to tell what is wrong with an elevator through intuitive communication with the machinery. Most of her fellow workers however belong to the Empiricist camp, and prefer to carry out routine conventional inspections. The simmering animosity between the two factions comes to the boil when an elevator that Lila Mae has inspected unexpectedly crashes. Solitary and taciturn Lila Mae suspects a conspiracy, and when rumours start circulating of a lost black box that contains the blueprint of the perfect elevator devised by the founder of Intuitionism and Lila Mae's hero, the late James Fulton, her conviction in the philosophical beliefs of her dead mentor compels her to unearth the truth. The surreality of the plot beguiles the seriousness with which Whitehead treats his underlying themes of racial and gender tension, and the use of the elevator works as a brilliant abstract metaphor for the organisation of society within a metropolis. Whitehead litters his deftly honed prose with pithy observations on everything from the construction of individual identity to philosophical absurdities on the nature of "elevatorness". It's an absolute joy to read, and one of the most original novels to be published in 1998. --F.F. GardenRead More

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  • TheBookPeople

    Verticality, architectural and social, is at the heart of Colson Whitehead's first novel that takes place in an unnamed high-rise city that combines twenty-first-century engineering feats with nineteenth-century pork-barrel politics. Elevators are the technological expression of the vertical ideal, and Lila Mae Watson, the city's first black female elevator inspector, is its embattled token of upward mobility.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' method 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. 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 is mysteriously entwined with existence of heretofore lost writings by James Fulton, father of Intuitionism, a giant of vertical thought. If she is able to find and reveal his plan for the perfect, next-generation elevator, the city as it now exists may instantly become obsolescent.

  • BookDepository

    The Intuitionist : Paperback : Little, Brown Book Group : 9780708898475 : 0708898475 : 04 May 2017 : The marvellously inventive, genre-bending, noir-inflected debut novel from the author of The Underground Railroad.

  • Foyles

    The marvellously inventive, genre-bending, noir-inflected debut novel from the author of The Underground Railroad.

  • 0708898475
  • 9780708898475
  • Colson Whitehead
  • 4 May 2017
  • Fleet
  • Paperback (Book)
  • 272

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