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The Intuitionist

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Whitehead, Colson(1998)
The Intuitionist

Colson Whiteheadís debut novel seems to be about an obscure topic: elevator inspectors. His protagonist, Lila Mae Watson, is the first black female elevator inspector in 1950ís New York. She uses her intuition to repair the elevators. There is a rival school of elevator inspectors called Empiricists who physically inspect the elevators for safety. Watsonís confidence is shaken when an elevator crashes shortly after an inspection. The elevatorsí guild is also having an election which pits the Intuitionists against the Empiricists. James Fulton, the founder of Intuitionism left behind a black box with instructions to create the perfect elevator. Watson is searching for this box. Whitehead uses the elevator inspector allegory to interweave race, spirituality, and humor into an inventive work.

Reviewed by Megan M., Main Library

Author InterviewRead the Author Interview with Colson Whitehead

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