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Plummeting Deep into Cold Pop

Zachary Leader: Colson Whitehead, 13 December 2001

John Henry Days 
by Colson Whitehead.
Fourth Estate, 389 pp., £12, June 2001, 1 84115 569 1
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... Colson Whitehead’s first novel, The Intuitionist (1999), won several prizes and extravagant praise from American critics. Whitehead is black and comparisons were made to Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Ishmael Reed. John Updike has called him ‘blithely gifted’, ‘the young African-American writer to watch ...

Fried Fish

Thomas Chatterton Williams: Colson Whitehead, 17 November 2016

The Underground Railroad 
by Colson Whitehead.
Fleet, 320 pp., £14.99, October 2016, 978 0 7088 9839 0
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... a less obvious candidate for the title of Woke Black Artist of the Year than the 47-year-old Colson Whitehead. He distinguished himself in his late twenties with his first novel, The Intuitionist (1999), an explosively original story set in a fantastical world of elevator inspectors, and quickly won critical acclaim on the strength of a ...

Les zombies, c’est vous

Thomas Jones: Zombies, 26 January 2012

Zone One 
by Colson Whitehead.
Harvill Secker, 259 pp., £14.99, October 2011, 978 1 84655 598 5
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... zombieism is more likely to be caused by a virus or genetic mutation, and is often – as in Colson Whitehead’s Zone One – spread by biting. Night of the Living Dead subverted the genre even as it was inventing it. The hero, famously and unprecedentedly, is black. According to Romero this wasn’t premeditated; Duane Jones was just the ...

Edited by Somerset Maugham

Wyatt Mason: Bedtime stories for adults, 17 March 2005

Pieces for the Left Hand: 100 Anecdotes 
by J. Robert Lennon.
Granta, 213 pp., £10, March 2005, 1 86207 740 1
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... uncharacteristic of writers of his generation. Whereas his immediate contemporaries Dave Eggers, Colson Whitehead and Mark Danielewski all thrive on – and have in part made themselves known for – work that brims with clever digression, Lennon includes only what advances his plots and broadens our sense of his characters. In an era where a species of ...

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