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Following on the heels of Whitehead's widely praised debut, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days won't disappoint anyone who delighted in the first book's wonderfully quirky writing or its complex allegories of race. The historical set pieces here dazzle, and the author casts a withering eye on our media-driven culture: "Since the days of Gutenberg, an ambient hype wafted the world, throbbing and palpitating. From time to time, some of that material cooled, forming bodies of dense publicity." Still, these brilliant parts don't necessarily add up to a satisfying whole. Whitehead writes the kind of smart, allusive, highly wrought prose that is impressive sentence by sentence. Over the course of 400 pages, though, it can be somewhat daunting. It's a bit like eating a meal in which each of the seven courses comes topped with hollandaise sauce. Worse, some of the characters' motivations remain abstract, as if the author hovered so far above his creations that their foibles struck him as simple absurdities. In a novel of this caliber, of course, much can be forgiven. But one is eager to see Whitehead quit riffing and make an emotional investment in his characters. The result will be fiction that engages the heart as well as the head. --Mary Park --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I bought this book for a friend who wanted a copy but his computer was crashed. He said it was a good read and that he enjoyed it very much.Published 15 months ago by Janelle E. Bohrod
Whitehead has a really distinctive and bitingly insightful voice. The narration style is a little odd to allow his voice to shine through an omniscient third person narrator, but... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Sean Meehan
This was a required reading for an African American Literature course. I didn't know what to expect.
I found it extremely well written. Read more
John Henry Days is written in an interesting narrative style. It shows us events through the lens of multiple characters, some repeatedly visited, others glimpsed just once or... Read morePublished on May 7, 2012 by Roy L. Pickering
A book largely about reporters who write puff pieces and there was an awful lot of puff. I lost patience with this book early on during an endless digression into the Altamont... Read morePublished on December 19, 2011 by A guy from Philly
I love Whitehead's writing and the large endeavor he took on in the narrative. I was challenged to feel good about the ending. I felt like the book was missing a chapter.Published on September 18, 2009 by Craig D. Aron
When I finished John Henry Days I felt that I wanted to know more about the title character. The most interesting chapters in this book were the historical ones. Read morePublished on September 22, 2006 by Anne C. Bullock
This is good too, although it took me a long time to actually finish it. It sat on the desk beside my bed for a few months, and, despite my best intentions, I read a few different... Read morePublished on March 31, 2005 by Ondre
Grandiose undertaking presented in a convoluted epic of a story. Whitehead writes parallel stories that engage and is presented in a straight-forward, albiet alternating fashion,... Read morePublished on February 12, 2005 by P. Shelton