Thursday, November 06, 2003

The Intuitionist, by Colson Whitehead

Walter Mosley loved this novel. So did Jonathan Lethem. There are blurbs on my paperback copy from Time, The Village Voice, GQ, and plenty of others. Far be it from me to disagree.

No, on second thought, I disagree.

High-minded is one way to describe this book. Dreary and dull are two others. I was excited by the idea of it, the weirdness of an intrigue between elevator inspectors, and a mystical way that one school of them has of attuning themselves to the machines. What I found was nothing but disappointment. Much as I respect the opinions of Mr. Mosley and Mr. Lethem, I must say that I found this novel formulaic, uninspired, and ultimately--after about 120 pages--unreadable. As racial allegory, it falls far short of, say, Invisible Man. As story, it fell short of a mediocre episode of, say, Law and Order. I'll stop there before I say something I'll regret. An enormous disappointment.


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