In readings | Best Bets | Indy Week

Ye Olde Archives » Best Bets

In readings

When Colson Whitehead visits the Triangle this week he'll be bringing with him the most sterling reputation for a first-time novelist in recent memory. Whitehead's The Intuitionist has been called "the freshest racial allegory since Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye (Walter Kirn, Time). But it's more than that--it's also a work of deep originality, a suspenseful dark comedy that takes a philosophical turn. In a gray, unnamed New York-like city in an indeterminate future, an argument rages between two rival camps of elevator inspectors, the Intuitionists and the Empiricists. Lila Mae Watson, the city's first black female inspector, gave a clean bill of health, using the Intuitionist method, to the Number Eleven in the new Fanny Briggs Memorial Building, only moments before it plunged into a deadly freefall. Was Fanny set up to discredit the Intuitionists? In a city where elevators rarely fail, the differences between the two methods of ascertaining elevator safety are largely academic. The war between the two factions is mainly political, shaped by the novelist into an allegorical battle between reason and faith. Whitehead reads from his novel at the Regulator Bookshop Thursday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. Call 286-2700 for more information. --Mark Hornburg

Add a comment