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 riveting portrait of America. Through a patchwork of interweaving histories Colson Whitehead triumphantly reveals how a nation creates its present through the stories it tells of its past.
Reviews of John Henry Days
- ‘Blithely gifted…an ambitious, finely chiselled work.’ John Updike
- ‘ Hugely talented…Colson Whitehead has produced an immensely rich, many stranded novel. The writing is inspired on every page. Just Wonderful! One of my books of the year.’ Time Out
- ‘Such is the buoyancy of his talent, and the protean assuredness of his prose, that the result is controlled, poignant, wittily observed and often gleefully comic.’ Guardian
- ‘Colson Whitehead’s dazzling second novel…It may be nothing new to suggest that history is fiction; but the pleasure of reading this ingenious patchwork lies in how it reminds us of the vitality of those fictions.’ Independent on Sunday
- ‘”John Henry Days” is funny and wise and sumptuously written.’ New York Times
- ‘Witty, acerbic and immensely compelling…fresh and evocative…Whitehead is a first-rate writer who has produced a novel that is compelling’. Financial Times
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