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The Intuitionist - Colson Whitehead
The Intuitionist
by: (author)
3.50 10
It is a time of calamity in a major metropolitan city's Department of Elevator Inspectors, and Lila Mae Watson, the first black female elevator inspector in the history of the department, is at the center of it.  There are two warring factions within the department:  the Empiricists, who work by... show more
It is a time of calamity in a major metropolitan city's Department of Elevator Inspectors, and Lila Mae Watson, the first black female elevator inspector in the history of the department, is at the center of it.  There are two warring factions within the department:  the Empiricists, who work by the book and dutifully check for striations on the winch cable and such; and the Intuitionists, who are simply able to enter the elevator cab in question, meditate, and intuit any defects.  

Lila Mae is an Intuitionist and, it just so happens, has the highest accuracy rate in the entire department.  But when an elevator in a new city building goes into total freefall on Lila Mae's watch, chaos ensues.  It's an election year in the Elevator Guild, and the good-old-boy Empiricists would love nothing more than to assign the blame to an Intuitionist.  But Lila Mae is never wrong.

The sudden appearance of excerpts from the lost notebooks of Intuitionism's founder, James Fulton, has also caused quite a stir.  The notebooks describe Fulton's work on the "black box," a perfect elevator that could reinvent the city as radically as the first passenger elevator did when patented by Elisha Otis in the nineteenth century.  When Lila Mae goes underground to investigate the crash, she becomes involved in the search for the portions of the notebooks that are still missing and uncovers a secret that will change her life forever.

A dead-serious and seriously funny feat of the imagination, The Intuitionist is a brilliant debut by an exceptional young talent.  Its sidesplitting humor is accompanied by a sobering examination of race--how it causes people to act and what it causes them to believe about themselves and others.  In the tradition of Ralph Ellison, Colson Whitehead artfully crosses back and forth over racial, political, and artistic borders to create a work of stunning depth,  soulfulness, and originality, starring one of the most intriguing heroines in contemporary fiction.
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Format: hardcover
ISBN: 9780385492997 (0385492995)
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages no: 255
Edition language: English
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Community Reviews
book reviews forevermore
book reviews forevermore rated it
2.5
I came to Colson Whitehead by way of zombies. Colson Whitehead, writer of award-nominated books, including National Book Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and New York Times Notable Book of the Year; contributer to the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York...
Eccentric Musings (jakaEM)
Eccentric Musings (jakaEM) rated it
2.0
I'll hold off rating this one until I think about it a bit... there is a lot to like about it; but a lot I just didn't understand. My elevator sometimes doesn't go all the way to the top._____________Here's the thing: at another time and place, I would probably rate this a 4. However, in this cur...
Barks At Everything
Barks At Everything rated it
2.0
I wanted to enjoy this book, all of the reviews I've read said I should, but after slogging through two discs and constantly having to back track because my mind had drifted away I'm calling it quits. It's about an elevator inspector, political ambitions, discrimination and it's also a mystery but ...
kamilah
kamilah rated it
5.0 The Intuitionist
I can't believe this is Colson Whitehead's first novel. The cover (at least in the paperback version) compares the book to Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. With an eyeroll, I wrote off that bit of marketing as foolish. Why bait readers with heights that can’t be reached? I mean, Ralph Ellison? You...
coffee & ink
coffee & ink rated it
Lila Mae is the first female black elevator inspector in a world which may be ours or may be a few steps sideways; the elevator inspectors' union is embroiled in an ideological conflict between the Empiricists and the Intuitionists, and in the meantime the secret desires of elevators and of modernis...
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