The Colossus of New York

October 11, 2007

I love New York with a love that can be considered unhealthy, and Colson Whitehead’s (what an unfortunate last name) The Colossus of New York had received rave reviews. “Pitch-perfect,” one reviewer wrote.

Maybe I’m just not hip enough, but the book didn’t grab me. Maybe I’m too much of a journalist, but I wanted specifics. Names. Places. Instead the whole thing is a (beautifully-written) mess of generic statements.

Some good truisms in here:

“It’s right there in the city charter: we have the right to disappear. The city rushes to hide all trace. It’s the law.”

 

“This place is falling apart, after all. If you listen close you can hear it. Day by day you contribute to it. You think this place sucks the life from you but in fact it’s the opposite. This bosom.”

Yet what makes New York (or any place, really) interesting is the people. Get the name of the dog–or in fiction, make one up–but don’t leave the poor thing anonymous.

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