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The Colossus of New York [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Colson Whitehead

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12. Oktober 2004
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. 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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“A tour de force.” —Luc Sante, The New York Times Book Review

“Pitch-perfect. . . . Utterly authentic. . . . The Colossus of New York is quite simply the most delicious 13 bites of the Big Apple I’ve taken in ages.” --Grace Lichenstein, The Washington Post

“A love letter to New York. . . . Colossus illuminates innumerable little moments that define the city.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“The cheapest, most stylish ticket to the Big Apple between two covers. . . . .It’s as if Whitehead’s scooped his pen into the collective unconscious of everyone who’s ever visited New York.” —Pittsburg Post-Gazette

“A revelatory ode to Gotham. . . . Whitehead’s engaged eyes and precise prose show us the small details we overlook and the large ones we fail to absorb.” —The Miami Herald

“Smooth, dazzling, evocative. . . . [Whitehead] writes wonderfully, commanding a lush, poetic, mellifluous prose instrument.” –The Nation

“[Whitehead is] a scientist of metropolitan encounters, he surveys places where the masses collide, knitting together hundreds of observations and calculations that usually remain unspoken. . . . The musical prose thrums with urban momentum.” —The Village Voice

“[Whithead’s] New York, like Walt Whitman’s or Thomas Pynchon’s or Woody Allen’s, is full of incantatory potential. Even the subway, ordinary, noisy, gruddy inevitability, becomes a ferry to the Underworld.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“[A] rapsodic ode to Gotham.” —Time Out

“Jazzlike. . . . A vivid impressionistic montage of Manhattan.” —The Seattle Times

“Whitehead’s series of vignettes and remembrances paint a perfect visual landscape. . . . A heartfelt tribute to Whitehead’s home.” —The Oregonian

“Lyrical. . . . Lean and full of longing. . . . The kind of book that will be . . . passed around, dog-eared, library-tagged, resold, from reader to reader. . . . Whitehead takes a known and specific place and universalizes it, insinuating it into the meshwork of our thoughts in a manner impervious to time and trend.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Thrums with anxious excitement and excited anxiety accommodating the noirish, the reportorial, and the epigrammatic. . . . The best passages deserve comparison with E.B. White’s Here is New York.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Whitehead [is] one of the city’s and country’s finest young writers. . . . [A] guided tour de force.” —Chicago Tribune

“Jazzlike. . . . A vivid impressionistic montage of Manhattan.” —The Seattle Times

“A revelatory ode to Gotham. . . . Whitehead’s engaged eyes and precise prose show us the small details we overlook and the large ones we fail to absorb.” —Miami Herald

“Profound and playful.” —Los Angeles Times

“Whitehead’s series of vignettes and remembrances paint a perfect visual landscape. . . . A heartfelt tribute to Whitehead’s home.” —The Oregonian

“Rhapsodic love letters . . . elegant, ambitious essays.” —New York Post

“Impressionistic . . . [an] affecting homage to E.B. White.” —New York Magazine (Top Fall Book Pick)


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. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.7 von 5 Sternen  18 Rezensionen
34 von 37 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A beautiful little book. 24. Oktober 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
I read a great deal of this book in a bookstore this afternoon, knowing good and well that I had no business buying another book - I ended up buying it (half because I was in love with it, half because the author was doing a reading at the same bookstore later in the evening and I wanted a signed copy). Sufficed to say - I went to the reading, finished the book on the train and I am in love with this man's words and have fallen in love with New York AGAIN (both his and mine)
The writing is so beautiful and raw and smart and witty and has the tendency to remind us how wondrous all of the things we overlook as ordinary really are and just how singular NY reallt is. And, of course, god bless the man who can write in tons of tenses and not lose the audience's interest. Whitehead feels to me (having not read his other work) like the rare kind of writer who can write to and for anyone.
Everyone is getting this book for christmas. Everyone. I hope many read it, its give-you-goosebumps lovely.
14 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Beautiful Prose Poem 23. Dezember 2003
Von R. J. Marsella - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
This short work captures in beautifully evocative language the moods amd nuances of daily life in New York City. It is a book that expresses so accurately the feelings that I personally experience in New York that I wish this is the book I had written. Thankfully Colson Whitehead has put these observations and feelings into words and expressed them for all New Yorkers in spirit to savor and reflect on again and again. A wonderful book for current residents, transplanted natives (like me) and visitors who want to get inside the pulse of the greatest city on the planet.
12 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Fantastic. 17. März 2004
Von Robert Beveridge - Veröffentlicht auf
Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York: A City in Thirteen Parts (Doubleday, 2003)
When one encounters the name "Colson Whitehead," one is apt to think of an old Irish immigrant viewing the city through a jaundiced eye, bleary from another night of stumbling home in rush hour only to find he's locked himself out of his bachelor pad and can't get to the can of beans sitting on the counter seductively calling his name. Instead, what we're given is a young (younger than I am, anyway) born-and-raised New Yorker writing about the place he calls home.
But Colson Whitehead's The Colossus of New York is not just another travelogue. Oh, no, my friends. In fact, it is anything but; I seriously doubt the NY tourism board is going to be recommending this one. At times loving and ominous, sweet and sassy, laugh-out-loud funny and painfully depressed, The Colossus of New York is much like New York itself. There are eight million stories in the naked city, Whitehead wryly quotes, and one would think from reading this that every one of them is feeling a completely different emotion from any of the others at any given moment, and that it's all a constantly swirling chaotic mass. Amen.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the book is how Whitehead manages to take this odd, impressionist look at New York and map it onto you, the reader. You're liable to find at least one or two snatches of sentence per page you can identify with, even if you've never set foot within an hundred miles of the place. Thus, even if you care nothing about New York, it's probable he's going to keep you interested in its goings-on. A beautiful thing, that. But the draw of the book, and its continuing majesty throughout, is Whitehead's ability with language. His diction takes us from the language poetry of Charles Olson to the Nuyorican-style street rap that passes for poetry among slammers, but with Whitehead the language never loses its poetic drive. All of it, even the ugliness, is beautiful.
And above all, The Colossus of New York is a love song, the kind that one would write to one's spouse after seventy years of marriage if one could find a way to include all one's spouse's faults and still make it beautiful. This is a powerful little book, and highly deserving of the widest possible audience. A shoo-in for the top ten list this year. **** 
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen ride the riffs, friend 2. Dezember 2005
Von A. C. Walter - Veröffentlicht auf
Colson Whitehead's "The Colossus of New York" is a sort of prose poem to New York. But interestingly enough, the city's identity is almost incidental. New York could be any megalopolis. Whitehead simply uses it as a convenient dumping ground for heaping piles of metaphor, innuendo, and wry pseudo-Freudian slip-riffs. As Whitehead eventually says: "Talking about New York is a way of talking about the world." He even outdoes Iain Sinclair in this territory because, hey, "Colossus" is actually readable.

Whitehead sculpts sentences here with dazzling, fluid mastery. In sentence after sentence, he manages to surprise you, keeping you in gleeful suspense for that next line, and the next one... And yet it never feels overwrought or exhausting, probably because he pays equal attention to the rhythm of his prose (this is one of those books you can't help reading aloud).

Here's one of my many favorite passages, set in the subway system:

"This is the fabled journey through the underground, folks, and it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. On the opposite track it's a field of greener grass, you gotta beat trains off with a stick. From his secret booth the announcer scares and reassures alternatively. The postures on the platform sag or stiffen appropriately. With a dial controlling the amount of static. What are their rooms like, the men at the microphones. One day the fiscal importunities of the subway announcer's union will be exposed and that will be the end of the hot tubs and lobster, but until then they break out the bubbly. Look down the tunnel one more time and your behavior will describe a psychiatric disorder. It's infectious. They take turns looking down into darkness and the platform is a clock: the more people standing dumb, the more time has passed since the last train. The people fall from above into hourglass dunes. Collect like seconds."

I also recommend the audio book edition of this title, as Whitehead himself reads the thing in a dizzying performance. It's like a long shot of aggression with a beat-poetry rhythm and a helping of faux snottiness, all orchestrated to allow us to experience the idea of street-level New York in a manageable package.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Very good but not colossal 6. Februar 2006
Von Rocco Dormarunno - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
This little sort of tone poem captures some of the beauty and some of the meanness of New York life. I didn't come away from THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK as being negative toward the city, but even if Mr. Whitehead were, we New Yorkers need our cranks and curmudgeons. It makes us part of who we are, after all.

The free style works MOST of the time. When it doesn't, it really doesn't. (It is no coincidence that the most straight-forward section, the introduction, is the most superb!) THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK doesn't have the lyricism of E.B. White's THIS IS NEW YORK, but it doesn't pretend to want to be like it, anyway. Colson Whitehead's piece is more like Whitman's poetry, as he rambled along the old downtown streets and piers, and recorded his scenes and his feelings about them. Yes, this book could have been greater, but it doesn't take away from the power much of it has. So if you're looking for a history of or guidebook to New York City, this is not the book. But if you're looking for the evocative power of New York, written in a personal, lyrical style, you won't find many better than THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK.
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