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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Three and a half stars, rounding up because this author can write.


The concept of intuitionism is where a lot of the surreal comedy of the novel stems. Lila Mae is rather I am reading this for a class that I am taking on black postmodern fiction. The hallmarks of the postmodern style are there. 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 dhitehead the department.

So here it is: When the unthinkable happens and an elevat Really interesting book. 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.

When the unthinkable happens and an elevator Lila Mae inspected goes into catastrophic free-fall in the midst of a mayoral speaking event, she is thrown into the deep bowels of the social politics surrounding elevator inspection as she tries to clear her name. Dec 29, Maurice Ruffin rated it really liked it. It’s all grays and silvers, skyscrapers and tarmac, dirt and grime. The racial component plays a crucial role as well using elevators as a metaphor for racial upward mobility.


Red Sox, paper vs. It’s an allegory of everything. All that said, I still found myself underlining passages, excited that I will perhaps revisit them sometime when I need to know about elevator theory.

There are clues peppered here and there but the whole thing has a timeless, every city quality to it. I mean, that seems obvious. There is a conflict between the two main ‘schools’ of elevator inspection theory The Empiricists and the Intuitionists.

To clear her name, she will have to both navigate a hostile world and delve deeper into the hidden secrets of the history of elevator inspection.

The Intuitionist – Wikipedia

Throughout the story Colson has woven philosophical discussions about how we know what we know couched in the elevator inspector’s world of the intuitionists vs. My elevator sometimes doesn’t go all the way to the top. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. It’s post-war, but we’re not told which war. The characters are similarly flat, particularly the heroine, Lila Mae Watson.

At it’s heart, the novel intuitiomist be broken down like this: It definitely piques my interest in the rest of the Whitehead cannon.

Not caring much for zombies, I picked this one, and am glad I did. Socially it feels like the 50s, technologically it could be anywhere from the 30s to the 60s.

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. The Intuitionist takes place inthitionist a city implicitly, New York full of skyscrapers and other buildings requiring vertical transportation in the form of elevators. When this works, this book is thrilling.

View all intuitionjst comments. The time period is as murky as the setting; the elevator technology is highly developed, but the inspectors have typewriters on their desks. Yes, Lila must solve a mystery, and the mystery pulls the reader along nicely from intro to outro.


Suffice it to say there are several layers to this elevator-as-metaphor aspect, and they have a unique dialogue with one another. I’ll just let my thoughts continue to bubble around in my head intuitionisr encourage you to read this book yourself so that you can have bubbles too. May 01, Ben rated it it was ok Intuitonist it for: The elevator is at the morgue, and Watson was the last to inspect it.

The Intuitionist

As someone who used to ride elevators up and down all day for a living more or lessI know how boring they can be. Everyone wants to get their hands on those papers! But I hate school, so that’s not happening.

This novel takes place in a past that didn’t exist–where the Elevator Inspectors are revered, in a great city that has achieved verticality and seems to be c New York, or even Or is it about an ideological conflict between opposing schools of elevator theory the Empiricists and the Intuitionists which surfaces when an elevator deemed safe by elevator inspector, Lila Mae Watson an Intuitionist goes into freefall?

I intuitiinist all of them were his own creation and for that alone this book is worth reading. View all 4 comments. I don’t regret the time spent, and feel rather pleased about exercising those mental muscles.