The Nickel Boys

The Nickel Boys

Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by...

DownloadRead Online
Title:The Nickel Boys
Author:Colson Whitehead
Rating:

The Nickel Boys Reviews

  • Read By RodKelly

    In Colson Whitehead's latest historical masterpiece, a horrific, real-life reform school for boys in Florida is fictionalized as The Nickel Academy, a century-old institution where teenage boys, black and white, are sent for the slightest crimes: truancy, petty theft, "disrespecting" a white person, or even the crime of being abandoned by their parents. Extreme abuse, rape, racism, and brutal murder are ruling principles, and the only way to escape is to run away or suffer death at the hands of

    In Colson Whitehead's latest historical masterpiece, a horrific, real-life reform school for boys in Florida is fictionalized as The Nickel Academy, a century-old institution where teenage boys, black and white, are sent for the slightest crimes: truancy, petty theft, "disrespecting" a white person, or even the crime of being abandoned by their parents. Extreme abuse, rape, racism, and brutal murder are ruling principles, and the only way to escape is to run away or suffer death at the hands of the sadistic school administrators.

    The story is narrated by Elwood Curtis, an ambitious young black man who idolizes Dr. King, looking to his great words as a guide for his own way of existing in the world. He is on his way to college when he finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time and has his path to success derailed when he lands in the snake-pit that is Nickel Academy, a place which breaks down all of the ideals he held so dear, leaving him to face the ugliness of the world and its random system of undeserved violence and punishment. He becomes close with another resident named Turner, who tries his best to rid Elwood of his infallible naivete and belief in the good of all people.

    The most brilliant thing about this novel is the writing and plot structure. Unlike many historical fiction novels, or novels based on true events, Whitehead doesn't spend hundreds of pages building up his setting, or dumping information on the reader. He goes straight into the horrific depths of the story, constructing a novel that shows incredible restraint and nuance. It is the ending that elevated this book from being great to being absolutely stellar and incredibly poignant! I was truly surprised by the revelations in the end, which totally clarified how brilliant and important the non-linear structure is for the story.

    This follow-up to the incredible accomplishment that is The Underground Railroad is another monumental work by a phenomenal and powerful artist!

  • Sarah

    The setting of Colson Whitehead's latest novel is mid-60s Florida, and the state is still amidst the Jim Crow era. Elwood, raised by his grandmother in Frenchtown, works in a tobacconists and is scouted for attendance at free classes in the local college. Elwood has become inspired by Martin Luther King's speeches through a recording of MLK's work that his grandmother bought, but becomes embroiled in a crime which sets his life off on a different trajectory - and finds him committed to The Nicke

    The setting of Colson Whitehead's latest novel is mid-60s Florida, and the state is still amidst the Jim Crow era. Elwood, raised by his grandmother in Frenchtown, works in a tobacconists and is scouted for attendance at free classes in the local college. Elwood has become inspired by Martin Luther King's speeches through a recording of MLK's work that his grandmother bought, but becomes embroiled in a crime which sets his life off on a different trajectory - and finds him committed to The Nickel Academy, a fictionalised version of the real-life Florida School for Boys, a reform school which operated from 1900-2011 in Marianna, Florida, which has recently been in the press as a result of the atrocities that were committed against the boys there over the 111 years it was in operation (maybe don't Google this until you're done reading the book).

    Whitehead's writing blew me away with its subtlety and deft handling of such a sensitive topic. The narrative switches back and forth in time and between characters seamlessly, with Turner (Elwood's friend at Nickel) being the other main character we spend time with - who is the realist to Elwood's idealist in the Academy. A quietly devastating novel which I expect to see on many prize long lists later in the year.

  • Marchpane

    melds When They See Us with The Shawshank Redemption and Colson Whitehead’s faultless instincts as a novelist. Some books are 5 stars because they strike a chord with your own specific reading tastes; some are 5 stars because they are so good everybody should read them. This book is firmly in the latter category.

    is about a reformatory school for boys (effectively a prison) during the Jim Crow years, based on a real

    melds When They See Us with The Shawshank Redemption and Colson Whitehead’s faultless instincts as a novelist. Some books are 5 stars because they strike a chord with your own specific reading tastes; some are 5 stars because they are so good everybody should read them. This book is firmly in the latter category.

    is about a reformatory school for boys (effectively a prison) during the Jim Crow years, based on a real-life institution and the horrendous abuses that took place there. Whitehead treats this material with care – it is a finely calibrated balancing act that conveys the truth of what occurred in such places, without resorting to shock value or stepping over the line into gratuitous detail. This is a novel that achieves its emotional resonance not through

    brutality, but by making the reader fall in love with its characters.

    We follow Elwood Curtis, a sweet kid, diligent, bright, aspiring to a college education. His misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (‘wrong’ for an African-American boy in 1960s Florida, wrongness being relative) lands him at The Nickel Academy. There Elwood befriends the streetwise and cynical Turner, whose personality contrasts starkly with his own. Nevertheless, they form a life-long bond, their destinies forever intertwined.

    At Nickel, Elwood struggles to reconcile a self-preservation instinct with his idealistic streak: he knows the best way to survive is to keep his head down but at the same time his conscience compels him to emulate his heroes in the Civil Rights movement, to make a stand. With nuance and delicacy, the novel explores this impossible paradox of trying to resist an oppressive power structure while living within it – any form of activism is at the risk of one’s own life.

    Whitehead’s prose style here is deceptively plain. Economical and direct, this is the kind of writing that belies its own sophistication and makes this a very accessible read (still not an 'easy' one, due to the subject matter). The cadence and tone evoke an earnestness and sense of innocence (or perhaps, naïveté) that captures the spirit of the story perfectly. It’s also quite a short book that, for its size, makes a mighty impression.

    is a novel with an enormous heart that’s sure to break yours. 5 stars.

  • D.  St. Germain

    (revised review - 5 stars)

    “It was quite a sight, all the boys, big and small, hustling in unified purpose, paint on their chins, the chucks wobbling as they ferried the cans of Dixie.”

    As part of their “community service,” The Nickel Boys paint buildings Dixie White, while avoiding sadistic and potentially fatal beatings delivered via a leather strap named Black Beauty. The boys, “cheaper than a dime-a-dance and you got more for your money, or so they used to say,” are in segregated juvenile det

    (revised review - 5 stars)

    “It was quite a sight, all the boys, big and small, hustling in unified purpose, paint on their chins, the chucks wobbling as they ferried the cans of Dixie.”

    As part of their “community service,” The Nickel Boys paint buildings Dixie White, while avoiding sadistic and potentially fatal beatings delivered via a leather strap named Black Beauty. The boys, “cheaper than a dime-a-dance and you got more for your money, or so they used to say,” are in segregated juvenile detention in Jim Crow Florida for crimes of malingering, mopery, incorrigibility, or being an orphan, just as the generations before them had served time for vagrancy, changing employers without permission, and “bumptious contact,” i.e. bumping into a white person or failing to step off the sidewalk to let a white person pass.

    The goal at Nickel Academy is to earn points and status rankings. However, the rulebook for points and status rankings has never been seen, because “like justice, it existed in theory.” Achieving status would mean the interred might get discharged from the Academy, fully “reformed,” rather than end up in an unmarked grave on the property.

    The main character, Elwood, is a serious and squeaky-clean young man who gets straight As and saves his report cards for the day they desegregate Fun Town, an amusement park in Atlanta advertising throughout the South that children with a perfect report card were guaranteed free admission (leaving out the implied “whites only” in the ad). He listens to a record of a Martin Luther King Jr. on repeat. With Civil Rights marches happening around him (it is 1962) and moved by the work of King, he strives to be a man of dignity. Still in high school, he’s chosen to attend college courses at Melvin Griggs Technical, the “colored” college just south of town. On the first day of classes, he accepts a ride from a stranger to get to Griggs, but the ride leads him straight to the Nickel Academy campus instead when it ends up the car is stolen. His entry beating to the Academy puts him in the school’s infirmary for weeks.

    is based on the accounts of the real life

    , once the largest training and reform school in the country. Hundreds of boys died while wards of the state at Dozier, including from gunshot wounds, blunt force trauma, numerous broken bones, or being locked in solitary confinement when a fire broke out.

    have been working for years to uncover graves, document remains and try to trace them where possible to their families of origin.

    is a harrowing look at the trauma of juvenile prisons under Jim Crow as told through the fictional experiences of Elwood and his friend Turner. One will make it out and live to tell the tale; he’ll even go on to subconsciously name his business after the highest-level status rank could achieve at Nickel, the level that got you out of the academy: “Ace: out in the free world to make your zigzag way.” As characters, Elwood represents the strain of thought that believes social change is possible, that humans can aspire to and achieve a higher purpose together, while Turner, grounded in the current world, believes it is dumb and mean and one must learn to navigate that.

    Readers familiar with the

    won’t be surprised to find that the boys maintain the homes of those who serve on the board of the Academy in addition to the parks and public spaces of Eleanor, FL. Elwood tries to bring attention to both the corruptions and living conditions at the Nickel Academy, but “the country was big, and its appetite for prejudice and depredation limitless, how could they keep up with the host of injustices, big and small. This was just one place. A lunch counter in New Orleans, a public pool in Baltimore that they filled with concrete rather than allow black kids to dip a toe in it. This was one place, but if there was one, there were hundreds, hundreds of Nickels and White Houses scattered across the land like pain factories,” and it would take another 50 years before the truth would come out about what had happened to young men there.

    Caption: From Library of Congress: Orphaned children and juvenile offenders could be bought to serve as laborers for white planters in many Southern states from 1865 until the 1940s. (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, LC-D428-850)

    This is a "does the moral arc of the universe bend towards justice? Or not?" kind of book, and Whitehead himself doesn't come down on either side of the argument, rather showing how reality and aspirations weave and wobble between extremes, like

    - "the path that this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back." Indeed, as Whitehead shows, it can be hard to be idealistic in the face of so much ugly history. "It was impossible, like loving the one who wanted to destroy you, but that was the message of the movement: to trust in the ultimate decency that lived in every human heart."

    The overarching sadness of this book is in the boys' potential, snuffed out. As Whitehead writes, “the boys could have been many things had they not been ruined by that place…. (they were) denied even the simple pleasure of being ordinary. Hobbled and handicapped before the race even began, never figuring out how to be normal.”

    is an intense take on the justice system in the Deep South during the turning points of the Civil Rights movement, and what that movement meant for individuals, connecting it to both the longer racialized history of the prison system in the South after reconstruction and the results the Civil Rights movement brought about in modern times. (For more on Southern justice after reconstruction, Oshinsky's

    is an absolute mind-blower and seminal reading.)

    In the end

    is a lot to digest, mostly because the actual history is so heavy.

    I had mixed feelings about the seemingly dispassionate voice that Whitehead uses to describe much of the boys' experiences; it felt like an emotionally-removed telling of events that were actually quite intense. I initially gave it four stars because I found that approach unsettling. But

    convinced me that perhaps this approach was taken to avoid sensationalizing or glorifying the boys' pain over communicating the facts.

    At the book's conclusion, the story's survivor, now a successful small businessman, does get to dine at the restaurant his friend had always dreamed of seeing a black person eat in as a child. So while this post-Jim Crow era (and he poses the question - what do we call this period now, with so much unresolved?) hasn’t settled many or even most thorny issues around history and race in America, Whitehead does point to

    progress ~ the same progress

    point to when they

    .

  • Paromjit

    Colson Whitehead confirms his position as a phenomenal writer with this ostensibly heartbreaking and harrowing fictional storytelling, but which is informed by the darkest, most shameful, and ugliest period of American history explored through the lives of two young boys, set in the early 1960s Civil Rights time and all the horrors of the Jim Crow era in Frenchtown, segregated Tallahassee, Florida. Whitehead writes in understated and subtly nuanced prose, all the more effective in delivering its

    Colson Whitehead confirms his position as a phenomenal writer with this ostensibly heartbreaking and harrowing fictional storytelling, but which is informed by the darkest, most shameful, and ugliest period of American history explored through the lives of two young boys, set in the early 1960s Civil Rights time and all the horrors of the Jim Crow era in Frenchtown, segregated Tallahassee, Florida. Whitehead writes in understated and subtly nuanced prose, all the more effective in delivering its relentless and emotionally hard hitting punches that live on in the memory long after the reader has finished reading the book. Elwood Curtis is a bright and hardworking boy who lives with his beloved and strict grandmother who keeps him on the straight and narrow. He is caught by the fire and ideals of Martin Luther King's spiritual rhetoric and philosophy, and the fight for emancipation, believing in the equality of everyone.

    Excited by the thought of attending a local black college, the innocent Elwood's life is to fall apart when he is sent to the evil hellhole that is The Nickel Academy, a segregated juvenile reform school run by the unbearably cruel and sadistic Maynard Spencer. Elwood is to find himself in a racist place that has no interest in educating or improving the lives of the young men and where everyday life reeks of despair, misery and never ending horrors. Vicious brutality, sexual abuse, torture, repression, corruption, disappearing boys and death are rife, as Elwood struggles to maintain King's higher ideals of love, trust and freedom in the face of his and his friend, Turner's, realities. Turner has a more cynical and jaundiced picture of the world he sees, believing Elwood to be naive, as he plots and schemes, trying to avoid as much trouble as possible. The boys futures are to be shaped by their experiences and what they have seen, and Elwood is living in New York when a traumatic past that refuses to lie down returns into his life.

    The Nickel Academy is based on an actual reform school with its graveyard in Marianna, Florida, and interspersed in the narrative are quotes from the actual traumatised survivors of the place, along with quotes from King himself. Whitehead's novel is not only a scathing indictment of the likes of The Nickel Academy but of aspects of American society that allowed the existence of the reform school and the evil within, and as such bear responsibility for what happened there, but more pertinently, the political and social structures that legitimised such horrors, and the wider racism and discrimination. Whitehead shines a powerful light on American history, the shadows of which have never gone away, and which are undeniably present in our contemporary world. A superb novel that is a must read, of justice and injustice, and which I feel is destined to become a classic in the future. Highly recommended! Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  • Tammy

    The Florida Dozier School for Boys opened in 1900 and didn’t close until 2011. In this novel, it is renamed the Nickel Academy and the story is partially based upon true events that took place during the early 1960’s. Some of the boys, both black and white, had committed crimes while others didn’t have families or were runaways. The school didn’t provide an academic education or help of any kind. Instead, these young boys (ages 18-21) were subjected to brutal beatings, sexual abuse, and unimagin

    The Florida Dozier School for Boys opened in 1900 and didn’t close until 2011. In this novel, it is renamed the Nickel Academy and the story is partially based upon true events that took place during the early 1960’s. Some of the boys, both black and white, had committed crimes while others didn’t have families or were runaways. The school didn’t provide an academic education or help of any kind. Instead, these young boys (ages 18-21) were subjected to brutal beatings, sexual abuse, and unimaginable torture which led many to their deaths. Elwood winds up at the school by making an innocent decision with unforeseeable consequences. Being a southern town in the deep south during the 1960’s, the court’s decision was racist. Once incarcerated, Elwood finds friendship with fellow captive in the cynical Turner. The novel follows these boys as they try to survive the hellish prison. It is harrowing to know the abuses at this school continued into the 21st century. Whitehead is saying, “Look at this.” I looked and so should you.

  • Jessica Woodbury

    This is the eighth book by Whitehead that I've read and by now I know what to expect from his fiction. It will be full of perfect sentences that never feel like they're showing off. It will break my heart at least three times in ways that are expected and surprising as a sucker punch. It is best not to come in with any particular expectations, he is the master of any genre he pleases and sometimes a book is not the genre you think it is.

    THE NICKEL BOYS is in many ways his most traditional novel.

    This is the eighth book by Whitehead that I've read and by now I know what to expect from his fiction. It will be full of perfect sentences that never feel like they're showing off. It will break my heart at least three times in ways that are expected and surprising as a sucker punch. It is best not to come in with any particular expectations, he is the master of any genre he pleases and sometimes a book is not the genre you think it is.

    THE NICKEL BOYS is in many ways his most traditional novel. It is a piece of historical fiction about a reformatory school for boys (aka juvenile detention center) in Florida in the 1960's, what happened there, and how it changed every boy who set foot inside it. It is, above all, bearing witness to this kind of pain not just in this one place but of all the places where this pain happens without ever being revealed. It is based on a real school and a real scandal that came to light decades later, too late to save anyone. This time there is no surrealist vehicle for escape, no monsters come to life, the closest things you get to fantasy are the men capable of violence against the vulnerable and the ideals of a man like Martin Luther King Jr., which can sound an awful lot like a dream when you are the one in the dark, painful prison.

    Our main character, Elwood Curtis, is a boy who does right. He has always been able to get ahead in the white man's world because of his ability to be polite and get his work done. He believes in civil rights and longs to join the student protesters ramping up across the South. Seeing a boy like him in a place like the Nickel Academy has its own specific pain, but Whitehead is sure to let us see not just this one good, idealistic, intelligent boy but dozens of boys from worse circumstances with their own difficult fates. Elwood struggles to keep his ideals, to try and find a noble way to save himself and the other boys, to reach out for help while still knowing how little the world wants to help boys like him in a place like this.

    Reading this book requires you to look directly at the human capacity for evil, just as THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD did. And like that book, it is not a pleasant read even if there is joy to be found in the prose and characters Whitehead gives us. It is just the length it should be, long enough to bear witness and pack its fair share of punches, but let you finish before you have given in to despair. It may take an act of will to open it, but once you are inside it is hard to leave until you have seen it through.

  • Roxane

    I loved this novel. It is rich with detail, the plot twists in a really interesting way, the novel's structure is pretty brilliant and overall, this is an ambitious book that was really well executed. It is a coming of age story where that coming of age is warped by the atrocities of a school for boys in segregated Florida. As Elwood awakens to the civil rights movement, he is stripped of nearly all his rights. The more he understands the freedom he deserves, the less freedom he has and that jux

    I loved this novel. It is rich with detail, the plot twists in a really interesting way, the novel's structure is pretty brilliant and overall, this is an ambitious book that was really well executed. It is a coming of age story where that coming of age is warped by the atrocities of a school for boys in segregated Florida. As Elwood awakens to the civil rights movement, he is stripped of nearly all his rights. The more he understands the freedom he deserves, the less freedom he has and that juxtaposition drives this remarkable novel.

    At times, there were bits of prose that felt a bit, half-hearted, like filler until he got to the part he was more interested in. I would have given this five stars but Whitehead uses cement instead of concrete at least 7 times. I stopped counting after 7 times because it was too upsetting. Cement, water, and aggregates make concrete! Cement and concrete are not synonyms. Why do copyeditors not catch this? WHY? Anyway, great novel. People are going to love this one. BUT STILL! CEMENT IS NOT CONCRETE.

  • Gumble's Yard

    Updated with new thoughts.

    Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book award and was longlisted for the Booker prize – but as well as its literary prize recognition it gained a number of nominations for Science Fiction prizes and won the prestigious Arthur C Clarke award.

    That book, in simple terms, told a familiar story in an unfamilar way.

    The sadly familiar story was of brutality on Southern American slave plantations. The unfamilar way was by tu

    Updated with new thoughts.

    Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” won both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book award and was longlisted for the Booker prize – but as well as its literary prize recognition it gained a number of nominations for Science Fiction prizes and won the prestigious Arthur C Clarke award.

    That book, in simple terms, told a familiar story in an unfamilar way.

    The sadly familiar story was of brutality on Southern American slave plantations. The unfamilar way was by turning the “Underground railroad” used to describe the route slaves took to escape, into a physical railway connecting cities and states with different variations on race relations. He used this Gulliver’s Travel style device to trace not just the history of black slavery in America, but to relate it to race relations across American history up to the present day, and to draw on other analogies including the Holocaust and even Slavery in Republican Rome.

    The author’s latest novel is perhaps best described as also examining the legacy of slavery and the practice of racism in America, but by doing the opposite - telling an unfamiliar story in a familiar way.

    The story is of a Florida based reform school Nickel, whose pupils or inmates, often sent there for minor offences, are subject to forced labour for the state (and via corruption for the staff of the school), savage beatings, rape, punishment cells and in some cases unexplained disappearances (believed to be after fatal beatings followed by burials in unmarked graves). Although white and coloured boys are sent to the school, they are strictly segregated and the coloured boys subject to particularly harsh treatment.

    Whereas Whitehead’s previous book relied on fantasy – what is particularly shocking about this book is that it is a very light fictionalisation of a real school – the Arthur G Dozier (or Florida) School for Boys - with a lot of the events and descriptions based on the recent testimony of victims. Perhaps even more shockingly the events portrayed are not from the 19th Century but the late 1960s. On one level I was shocked to not be aware of these practices – but Whitehead himself only became aware in 2014 and I think that the choice to make this at core a relatively conventional (by his standards) novel is simply because the story is one that simply needed to be told and further is deeply impactful without need for embellishment or a new literary perspective.

    Where the author does round out the story is in two ways.

    Firstly by bringing in the words and teachings of Martin Luther King and examining the challenge of living them in practice. The main protagonist in the story Elwood, starts the book listening repeatedly to a LP of King’s sermons and speeches and follows the Civil Rights movement passionately – plotting how he can get directly involved using his educational prowess. Already though he finds in an incident that doing what seems right and maintaining racial solidarity can lead to a clash. Later, just when he is on the verge of educational involvement, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time (hitching a lift in a car which was stolen) leads to him being sent to Nickel. There he both witnesses and personally experiences racist brutality and stark injustice. He struggles to come to terms with how to forgive those oppressing him and by doing to resist their racist agendas. Even then he retains a belief in justice and is convinced that even if the boys cannot help themselves, others will come to their rescue when their plight is known (he imagines the National Guard taking over the prison). His views are contrasted with the more cynical and world weary Turner – the secondary character in the novel – who gradually befriends Elwood.

    The second is in a modern day framing device for the novel – examining, with a twist, the lasting impact of Nickel on the lives of those staying there and the gradual exposure of the practices in the 21st Century. This part of the novel (and the historic denouement that contextualises it) also shows what happens when cynicism is challenged by principle, as well as when idealism is confronted by reality.

    Through these two areas I think the author’s secondary purpose is revealed - to challenge the current generation with their reaction to racism: e.g. for the woke generation that the liberal use of hashtag and retweets may not equip them when they themselves are victims of institutional racism.

    Recommended. My thanks to Vantage for an ARC via NetGalley.

  • Meike

    This book equally moved and infuriated me - why can't we manage to finally render the attitudes discussed in this historical novel, well,

    ? "The Nickel Boys" is a written monument to the black boys who - alone and helpless - were subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment in a so-called "reform school", and the perpetrators and enablers of the crimes they endured were the same kind of people who today shout "send her back" and "build the wall" while flaunting their lack of intelligence,

    This book equally moved and infuriated me - why can't we manage to finally render the attitudes discussed in this historical novel, well,

    ? "The Nickel Boys" is a written monument to the black boys who - alone and helpless - were subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment in a so-called "reform school", and the perpetrators and enablers of the crimes they endured were the same kind of people who today shout "send her back" and "build the wall" while flaunting their lack of intelligence, compassion and, above all, their lack of shame and self-respect (two words: caged kids). Based on true events that happened at the

    in Florida during the Jim Crow-era, Whitehead's fictional characters stand for the real victims, giving them a voice, preserving and telling their stories - in short, Whitehead masterfully uses the potential of fiction to commemorate the past and the people who lived in it.

    The book's protagonist is Elwood Curtis, a young black man who is inspired by Martin Luther King and dreams of attending college. But in a classic combo of wrong place, wrong time and systemic racism, he ends up at the Nickel Academy, a reform school where black boys get viciosuly beaten, degraded, tortured, molested, raped, and, if the supervisors decide so, murdered. Elwood becomes friends with another boy named Turner, and tries to think of ways to get out of Nickel and, like MLK, to stand up in the face of injustice. This main narrative strand is interspersed with information about the destinies of different Nickel boys, both those who died at the school and those who survived, now physically free but trapped by traumatic memories. I will not give away more of the story, but the twist at the end and the epilogue of the book are absolutely fantastic.

    Unlike

    , this book employs no fantastical elements - in fact, Whitehead's storytelling is well-executed, but straight forward and highly accessible. This does fit the author's aim and reads smoothly, but it also gives the writing a rather traditional touch. Make no mistake, this criticism mostly relates to my personal taste (I love poetic riddles, twisted narrative approaches and experimental writing): This is not my favorite kind of storytelling, but for what it is, it is exceptionally well done, and it is obvious that the topic the author discusses is still relevant. So is Colson Whitehead really a "Great American Storyteller", and is this a "Great American Novel"? Yes and yes.

    This book is well-worth reading and I liked it a lot better than

    - let's see whether Whitehead will again dominate the award circuit.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.