The Colossus of New York: A City in Thirteen Parts

Colson Whitehead

In a dazzlingly original work of nonfiction, the award-winning novelist Colson Whitehead re-creates the exuberance, the chaos, the promise, and the heartbreak of New York, composing a love song that will entrance anyone who has lived in – or spent time in – this great city.

In this masterful evocation of the greatest of cities, Colson Whitehead conveys with almost uncanny immediacy the feelings and thoughts of longtime residents and of newcomers who dream of making it their home.

His style, a series of vignettes, meditations, and personal memories, is as multilayered and multifarious as New York itself. There is a funny, knowing riff on what it feels like to arrive there for the first time; a lyrical meditation on how the city is transformed by an unexpected rain shower; while another captures those magical moments when the city seems to be talking directly to you, inviting you to become one with its rhythms.

Ambitious in scope, gemlike in its details, ‘The Colossus of New York’ is at once an unparalleled tribute to this great city and the ideal introduction to one of the most exciting writers in America today.

Reviews of The Colossus of New York: A City in Thirteen Parts

    • Praise for JOHN HENRY DAYS
    • • ‘The sumptuous writing has the structure and quality of music … A voice so intelligent and an idiom so imaginative that it can lift a reader right out of his chair.’ New York Times
    • • ‘Blithely gifted … an ambitious, finely chiselled work.’ John Updike
    • • ‘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
    • • ‘Dazzling … 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