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About Colson Whitehead
Colson Whitehead is the author eight novels and two works on non-fiction, including The Underground Railroad, which received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal, the Heartland Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Hurston-Wright Award, and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. The novel is being adapted by Barry Jenkins into a TV series for Amazon. Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys received the Pulitzer Prize, The Kirkus Prize, and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.
A recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship, he lives in New York City.
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Books By Colson Whitehead
FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD (Now a major Amazon Prime TV show)
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
'Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked...'
To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably-priced furniture, making a life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver's Row don't approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it's still home.
Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger and bigger all the time.
See, cash is tight, especially with all those instalment plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace at the furniture store, Ray doesn't see the need to ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweller downtown who also doesn't ask questions.
Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa - the 'Waldorf of Harlem' - and volunteers Ray's services as the fence. The heist doesn't go as planned; they rarely do, after all. Now Ray has to cater to a new clientele, one made up of shady cops on the take, vicious minions of the local crime lord, and numerous other Harlem lowlifes.
Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he starts to see the truth about who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin, and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs?
Harlem Shuffle is driven by an ingeniously intricate plot that plays out in a beautifully recreated Harlem of the early 1960s. It's a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
WINNER OF THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD 2017
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER 2016
AMAZON.COM #1 BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR
'Whitehead is on a roll: the reviews have been sublime' Guardian
'Luminous, furious, wildly inventive' Observer
'Hands down one of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year' Stylist
'Dazzling' New York Review of Books
Praised by Barack Obama and an Oprah Book Club Pick, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead won the National Book Award 2016 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2017.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.
In Whitehead's razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
At each stop on her journey, Cora encounters a different world. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2020
WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL FICTION 2020
Winner of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction 2020
Time #1 Novel of the Year 2019
Author of The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in 1960s Florida.
Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clear-sighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide 'physical, intellectual and moral training' which will equip its inmates to become 'honorable and honest men'.
In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear 'out back'. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King's ringing assertion, 'Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.' But Elwood's fellow inmate and new friend Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse; the world is crooked, and the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty and cynicism of their oppressors.
The tension between Elwood's idealism and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision which will have decades-long repercussions.
Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative by a great American novelist whose work is essential to understanding the current reality of the United States.
'If greatness is excellence sustained over time, then without question, Whitehead is one of the greatest of his generation. In fact, figuring his age, acclaim, productivity and consistency, he is one of the greatest American writers alive' Time
'A commanding triumph' Sunday Times
'Every chapter hits its mark' New York Times
From the author of the Man Booker longlisted The Underground Railroad
A pandemic has devastated the planet, sorting humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. The worst of the plague is now past, and Manhattan is slowly being resettled. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street – aka ‘Zone One’ and teams of civilian volunteers are clearing out the remaining infected ‘stragglers’.
Mark Spitz is a member of one of these taskforces and over three surreal days he undertakes the mundane mission of malfunctioning zombie removal, the rigours of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and attempting to come to terms with a fallen world.
But then things start to go terribly wrong…
Verticality, architectural and social, is at the heart of Colson Whitehead's first novel that takes place in an unnamed high-rise city that combines twenty-first-century engineering feats with nineteenth-century pork-barrel politics. Elevators are the technological expression of the vertical ideal, and Lila Mae Watson, the city's first black female elevator inspector, is its embattled token of upward mobility.When Number Eleven of the newly completed Fanny Briggs Memorial Building goes into deadly free-fall just hours after Lila Mae has signed off on it, using the controversial 'Intuitionist' method of ascertaining elevator safety, both Intuitionists and Empiricists recognize the set-up, but may be willing to let Lila Mae take the fall in an election year.
As Lila Mae strives to exonerate herself in this urgent adventure full of government spies, underworld hit men, and seductive double agents, behind the action, always, is the Idea. Lila Mae's quest is mysteriously entwined with existence of heretofore lost writings by James Fulton, father of Intuitionism, a giant of vertical thought. If she is able to find and reveal his plan for the perfect, next-generation elevator, the city as it now exists may instantly become obsolescent.
From the author of the Man Booker longlisted The Underground Railroad
Benji spends most of the year as one of the only black kids at an elite prep school in Manhattan, going to roller disco bar mitzvahs, desperately trying to find his place in the social hierarchy.
Then he spends his summers in the African-American community of Sag Harbor on Long Island, and is just as confused. He's way behind on the latest handshakes, baffled by new slang, and his attempts to be cool and meet girls are constantly thwarted by his extremely awkward inner geek, braces and a badly cut Afro.
It's the summer of 1985 and Benji is determined that this is the summer when things will change and he'll fit in. For starters, he'll be reinvented as 'Ben'. When that doesn't catch on, it's another summer of the perpetual mortification that is teenage existence.
PREMIO PULITZER 2020
Una de las 10 mejores novelas de la década pasada según la revista Time.
El autor de El ferrocarril subterráneo (Premio Pulitzer 2017) vuelve a ganar el Pulitzer con la estremecedora historia de dos amigos que luchan por su supervivencia.
Bestseller de The New York Times
Premiado con The Kirkus Prize
Nominado al National Book Award y finalista del National Book Critics Circle Award
Mejor libro de 2019 según Time. Entre los 10 mejores libros de 2019 según Publishers Weekly. Entre los 20 mejores libros de 2019 según Amazon y Apple. Entre los 10 mejores libros de 2019 según los libreros de Barnes &Nobles
Desde pequeño, Elwood Curtis ha escuchado con devoción, en el viejo tocadiscos de su abuela, los discursos de Martin Luther King. Sus ideas, al igual que las de James Baldwin, han hecho de este adolescente negro un estudiante prometedor que sueña con un futuro digno. Pero de poco sirve esto en la Academia Nickel para chicos: un reformatorio que se vanagloria de convertir a sus internos en hombres hechos y derechos pero que oculta una realidad inhumana respaldada por muchos y obviada por todos. Elwood intenta sobrevivir a este lugar junto a Turner, su mejor amigo en la Nickel. El idealismo de uno y la astucia del otro les llevará a tomar una decisión que tendrá consecuencias irreparables.
Después de El ferrocarril subterráneo, Colson Whitehead nos brinda una historia basada en el estremecedor caso real de un reformatorio de Florida que destrozó la vida de miles de niños y que leha hecho merecedor de su segundo premio Pulitzer. Esta deslumbrante novela, a caballo entre el momento presente y el final de la segregación racial estadounidense de los sesenta, interpela directamente al lector y muestra la genialidad de un escritor en la cima de su carrera.
«Una lectura necesaria.»
«Colson Whitehead continua haciendo del género clásico americano el suyo propio [...] Es la voz de las historias suprimidas; su escritura es tanto ética como estética.»
The New York Times
«Una narración cautivadora que refuerza la posición de Whitehead como una de las principales voces de la literatura norteamericana.»
«Una novela sorprendentemente distinta a El ferrocarril subterráneo. Whitehead revela las atrocidades clandestinas de la Academia Nickel con la dosificación justa como para mantenernos en un estado de temor palpable.
This New York Times Notable Book from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad is a brisk, comic tour de force about identity, history, and the adhesive bandage industry.
The town of Winthrop has decided it needs a new name. The resident software millionaire wants to call it New Prospera; the mayor wants to return to the original choice of the founding black settlers; and the town's aristocracy sees no reason to change the name at all. What they need, they realize, is a nomenclature consultant.
And, it turns out, the consultant needs them. But in a culture overwhelmed by marketing, the name is everything and our hero's efforts may result in not just a new name for the town but a new and subtler truth about it as well.
In a dazzlingly original work of non-fiction, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad recreates the exuberance, the chaos, the promise, and the heartbreak of New York. Here is a literary love song that will entrance anyone who has lived in - or spent time - in the greatest of American cities.
A masterful evocation of the city that never sleeps, The Colossus of New York captures the city's inner and outer landscapes in a series of vignettes, meditations, and personal memories. Colson Whitehead conveys with almost uncanny immediacy the feelings and thoughts of longtime residents and of newcomers who dream of making it their home; of those who have conquered its challenges; and of those who struggle against its cruelties.
Whitehead's style is as multilayered and multifarious as New York itself: Switching from third person, to first person, to second person, he weaves individual voices into a jazzy musical composition that perfectly reflects the way we experience the city. There is a funny, knowing riff on what it feels like to arrive in New York for the first time; a lyrical meditation on how the city is transformed by an unexpected rain shower; and a wry look at the ferocious battle that is commuting. The plaintive notes of the lonely and dispossessed resound in one passage, while another captures those magical moments when the city seems to be talking directly to you, inviting you to become one with its rhythms.
The Colossus of New York is a remarkable portrait of life in the big city. Ambitious in scope, gemlike in its details, it is at once an unparalleled tribute to New York and the ideal introduction to one of the most exciting writers working today.
Els nois de la Nickel, que recrea la història real dels assassinats i abusos que van patir desenes de nens i adolescents afroamericans, s'endinsa en un dels episodis més foscos i violents del sistema educatiu dels Estats Units. Whitehead analitza la violència racial i els crims d'odi, la indiferència social, la deshumanització i la imposició de l'oblit en un text impactant i necessari.
"Whitehead és un escriptor amb un talent descomunal, més versàtil que cap altra novel·lista nord-americà en actiu"
Galardonada con el Premio Pulitzer 2017 y con el National Book Award, El ferrocarril subterráneo ha sido el acontecimiento literario del año en Estados Unidos.
Colson Whitehead es uno de los pocos escritores que ha conseguido ambos premios por el mismo libro. Con El ferrocarril subterráneo entra a formar parte del grupo de grandes nombres como Faulkner, Proulx, Updike y A. Walker.
Una renovada visión de la esclavitud donde se mezclan leyenda y realidad y que oculta una historia universal: la de la lucha por escapar al propio destino
Cora es una joven esclava de una plantación de algodón en Georgia. Abandonada por su madre, vive sometida a la crueldad de sus amos. Cuando César, un joven de Virginia, le habla del ferrocarril subterráneo, ambos deciden iniciar una arriesgada huida hacia el Norte para conseguir la libertad.
El ferrocarril subterráneo convierte en realidad una fábula de la época e imagina una verdadera red de estaciones clandestinas unidas por raíles subterráneos que cruzan el país. En su huida, Cora recorrerá los diferentes estados, y en cada parada se encontrará un mundo completamente diferente, mientras acumula decepciones en el transcurso de una bajada a los infiernos de la condición humana... Aun así, también habrá destellos de humanidad que le harán mantener la esperanza.
Whitehead nos brinda una historia universal, onírica y a la vez brutalmente realista, sobre la libertad y las ilusiones truncadas, que nos habla de la fuerza sobrehumana que emerge ante la determinación de cambiar el propio destino.
«De manera similar a Robert Wright, Whitehead no solo examina los vestigios de la esclavitud y el racismo, sino también la manera en que el miedo nos esclaviza a todos y fomenta un sistema de desigualdad autopropulsado. Con Cora, recordamos la importancia de la rebelióny la libertad; temas que nos dan una chispa de esperanza en estos momentos tan oscuros.»
Freddie Braun, Vogue ("6 novelas fundamentales de autores negros que deberías añadir a tu lista de lecturas")
El ferrocarril subterráneo ha sido
ganador del Premio Pulitzer 2017,
National Book Award 2016,
Indies Choice Book Award 2017,
galardonado con la Andrew Carnegie Medal of Excellence,
destacada por Barack Obama y Ophra Winfrey,
número 1 de la lista de best seller de The New York Times durante más de 36 semanas,
seleccionado libro del año 2016 por Amazon y Apple,
una de las mejores novelas de 2016 según The New York Times Book Review y Publishers Weekly.
La adaptación televisiva de la novela correrá a cargo de Barry Jenkins, director de Moonlight, ganadora del Oscar a la mejor película en 2017.
From the author of ‘The Underground Railroad’, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and Longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize.
‘John Henry Days’ is a novel of extraordinary scope and mythic power. It established Colson Whitehead as a pre-eminent American writer of our time.
Building the railways that made America, John Henry died with a hammer in his hand moments after competing against a steam drill in a battle of endurance. The story of his death made him a legend.
Over a century later, J. Sutter, a freelance journalist and accomplished expense account abuser, is sent to West Virginia to cover the launch of a new postage stamp at the first 'John Henry Days' festival.
John Henry Days is a work of extraordinary scope, revealing how a nation creates its present through the stories it tells of its past.