Colson Whitehead

  • Meilleur roman étranger 2017 - Palmarès du magazine LIRE
    Palmarès 2017 LE POINT - 25 meilleurs livres de l'année
    Adapté en série par Barry Jenkins (Moonlight).
    Cora, seize ans, est esclave sur une plantation de coton dans la Géorgie d'avant la guerre de Sécession. Abandonnée par sa mère lorsqu'elle était enfant, elle survit tant bien que mal à la violence de sa condition. Lorsque Caesar, un esclave récemment arrivé de Virginie, lui propose de s'enfuir, elle accepte et tente, au péril de sa vie, de gagner avec lui les états libres du Nord.De la Caroline du Sud à l'Indiana en passant par le Tennessee, Cora va vivre une incroyable odyssée. Traquée comme une bête par un impitoyable chasseur d'esclaves qui l'oblige à fuir, sans cesse, le « misérable coeur palpitant » des villes, elle fera tout pour conquérir sa liberté.L'une des prouesses de Colson Whitehead est de matérialiser l'« Underground Railroad », le célèbre réseau clandestin d'aide aux esclaves en fuite qui devient ici une véritable voie ferrée souterraine, pour explorer, avec une originalité et une maîtrise époustouflantes, les fondements et la mécanique du racisme.à la fois récit d'un combat poignant et réflexion saisissante sur la lecture de l'Histoire, ce roman, couronné par le prix Pulitzer, est une oeuvre politique aujourd'hui plus que jamais nécessaire.« Un roman puissant et presque hallucinatoire. Une histoire essentielle pour comprendre les Américains d'hier et d'aujourd'hui. » The New York Times

  • Nickel boys

    Colson Whitehead

    Prix Pulitzer 2020
    Palmarès Les 100 livres de l'année 2020 - Lire-Magazine Littéraire; Palmarès Les 30 livres de l'année 2020 -  Le Point; Palmarès 2020 - Les Inrocks; Palmarès Les 30 meilleurs livres de 2020 - Le Monde
    Dans la Floride ségrégationniste des années 1960, le jeune Elwood Curtis prend très à coeur le message de paix de Martin Luther King. Prêt à intégrer l'université pour y faire de brillantes études, il voit s'évanouir ses rêves d'avenir lorsque, à la suite d'une erreur judiciaire, on l'envoie à la Nickel Academy, une maison de correction qui s'engage à faire des délinquants des « hommes honnêtes et honorables ». Sauf qu'il s'agit en réalité d'un endroit cauchemardesque, où les pensionnaires sont soumis aux pires sévices. Elwood trouve toutefois un allié précieux en la personne de Turner, avec qui il se lie d'amitié. Mais l'idéalisme de l'un et le scepticisme de l'autre auront des conséquences déchirantes.
    Couronné en 2017 par le prix Pulitzer pour Underdground Railroad puis en 2020 pour Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead s'inscrit dans la lignée des rares romanciers distingués à deux reprises par cette prestigieuse récompense, à l'instar de William Faulkner et John Updike. S'inspirant de faits réels, il continue d'explorer l'inguérissable blessure raciale de l'Amérique et donne avec ce nouveau roman saisissant une sépulture littéraire à des centaines d'innocents, victimes de l'injustice du fait de leur couleur de peau.
     « Le roman de Colson Whitehead est une lecture nécessaire. Il détaille la façon dont les lois raciales ont anéanti des existences et montre que leurs effets se font sentir encore aujourd'hui. » Barack Obama

  • La Dernière Nuit a eu lieu. Le fléau s'est répandu. Et dans le désert du monde d'après, les rares humains survivants luttent au jour le jour pour échapper aux zombs, ces morts-vivants cannibales et contagieux.
    Pourtant, l'espoir commence à renaître. Dans la Zone 1, tout en bas de Manhattan, Mark Spitz et ses camarades ratisseurs éliminent les zombs traînards, première étape d'une patiente entreprise de reconquête. Mais la victoire est-elle seulement possible? Et pour reconstruire quel monde? Les personnages sont hantés par le passé, ou inversement refoulent le souvenir du cauchemar et des êtres perdus. Mais avant d'en être réduits à survivre, avaient-ils vraiment vécu? Mark Spitz se sent fait pour ce chaos absurde grâce à sa médiocrité même, et éprouve une étrange empathie pour les traînards. Et parfois, il lui vient à l'esprit la pensée interdite...

    Colson Whitehead offre ici un authentique et palpitant conte de terreur, dont la noirceur et la tension permanente sont accentuées par un humour macabre et sardonique, et une invention verbale exceptionnelle, faite d'argot militaire, d'euphémismes officiels, d'images audacieuses pour rendre compte de l'impensable, donner une forme au pire. Mais ce tableau d'apocalypse, cette fable aux multiples interprétations est aussi une méditation sur ce qui fonde l'humanité. En vrai moraliste, Whitehead pose ici plus crûment que jamais la même question lancinante : que faisons-nous de nos vies? Et la démesure de l'horreur confère à cette représentation un lyrisme endeuillé, une gravité et une puissance proprement visionnaires.

  • C'est l'été 1985, et comme chaque année depuis toujours Benji passe ses vacances à Sag Harbor, la station balnéaire de la bourgeoisie noire new-yorkaise. Mais cette fois, il se l'est juré, tout sera différent : il vient d'avoir quinze ans, il a même trouvé un premier boulot. Dorénavant, on l'appellera Ben, il changera de coiffure, ses copains le prendront au sérieux et les filles s'intéresseront enfin à lui. Malgré les fiascos, les tensions familiales, les aventures tragi-comiques, Benji s'obstine, bien décidé à montrer qu'il n'est plus un enfant. À force de l'attendre, la vraie vie finira bien par arriver. Et lui-même saura enfin qui il est.
    Épopée parodique, faux roman de formation, Sag Harbor évoque la transition adolescente sous le regard rétrospectif d'un narrateur adulte, moins nostalgique qu'empreint d'une tendresse ironique. Mais il brosse aussi le portrait d'un adolescent pris entre deux âges, entre sa famille et ses pairs, entre conscience communautaire et appartenance sociale, entre le monde blanc et le monde noir. Souvent hilarant dans ses péripéties, ses changements de registre, ses métaphores incongrues, ce roman autobiographique est plus grave qu'il n'y paraît, car sous l'humour affleurent la difficulté à trouver sa place, la mélancolie du temps qui passe, la hantise de perdre ce qui fait la matière de nos vies. Colson Whitehead confirme une fois de plus la finesse lucide de sa vision, et fait passer le lecteur du rire à une émotion aussi profonde qu'inattendue.

  • From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad
    Colson Whitehead’s triumphant novel is on one level a multifaceted retelling of the story of John Henry, the black steel-driver who died outracing a machine designed to replace him. On another level it’s the story of a disaffected, middle-aged black journalist on a mission to set a record for junketeering who attends the annual John Henry Days festival. It is also a high-velocity thrill ride through the tunnel where American legend gives way to American pop culture, replete with p. r. flacks, stamp collectors, blues men , and turn-of-the-century song pluggers. John Henry Days is an acrobatic, intellectually dazzling, and laugh-out-loud funny book that will be read and talked about for years to come.

  • This New York Times Notable Book from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad is a brisk, comic tour de force about identity, history, and the adhesive bandage industry.
    The town of Winthrop has decided it needs a new name. The resident software millionaire wants to call it New Prospera; the mayor wants to return to the original choice of the founding black settlers; and the town’s aristocracy sees no reason to change the name at all. What they need, they realize, is a nomenclature consultant. And, it turns out, the consultant needs them. But in a culture overwhelmed by marketing, the name is everything and our hero’s efforts may result in not just a new name for the town but a new and subtler truth about it as well.

  • Anglais Zone One

    Colson Whitehead

    A pandemic has devastated the planet, sorting humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. The worst of the plague is now past, and Manhattan is slowly being resettled. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street - aka 'Zone One' and teams of civilian volunteers are clearing out the remaining infected 'stragglers'. Mark Spitz is a member of one of these taskforces and over three surreal days he undertakes the mundane mission of malfunctioning zombie removal, the rigours of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and attempting to come to terms with a fallen world. But then things start to go terribly wrong...

  • This debut novel by the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad wowed critics and readers everywhere and marked the debut of an important American writer.
    It is a time of calamity in a major metropolitan city's Department of Elevator Inspectors, and Lila Mae Watson, the first black female elevator inspector in the history of the department, is at the center of it. There are two warring factions within the department: the Empiricists, who work by the book and dutifully check for striations on the winch cable and such; and the Intuitionists, who are simply able to enter the elevator cab in question, meditate, and intuit any defects.
    Lila Mae is an Intuitionist and, it just so happens, has the highest accuracy rate in the entire department. But when an elevator in a new city building goes into total freefall on Lila Mae's watch, chaos ensues. It's an election year in the Elevator Guild, and the good-old-boy Empiricists would love nothing more than to assign the blame to an Intuitionist. But Lila Mae is never wrong.
    The sudden appearance of excerpts from the lost notebooks of Intuitionism's founder, James Fulton, has also caused quite a stir. The notebooks describe Fulton's work on the "black box," a perfect elevator that could reinvent the city as radically as the first passenger elevator did when patented by Elisha Otis in the nineteenth century. When Lila Mae goes underground to investigate the crash, she becomes involved in the search for the portions of the notebooks that are still missing and uncovers a secret that will change her life forever.

  • From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad
    In 2011, Grantland magazine gave bestselling novelist Colson Whitehead $10,000 to play at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. It was the assignment of a lifetime, except for one hitch--he’d never played in a casino tournament before. With just six weeks to train, our humble narrator took the Greyhound to Atlantic City to learn the ways of high-stakes Texas Hold’em.
    Poker culture, he discovered, is marked by joy, heartbreak, and grizzled veterans playing against teenage hotshots weaned on Internet gambling. Not to mention the not-to-be overlooked issue of coordinating Port Authority bus schedules with your kid’s drop-off and pickup at school. Finally arriving in Vegas for the multimillion-dollar tournament, Whitehead brilliantly details his progress, both literal and existential, through the event’s antes and turns, through its gritty moments of calculation, hope, and spectacle. Entertaining, ironic, and strangely profound, this epic search for meaning at the World Series of Poker is a sure bet.
    An NPR Best Book of the Year

  • Anglais Sag Harbor

    Colson Whitehead

    From the author of the Man Booker longlisted The Underground RailroadIt's the summer of 1985 and Benji is determined that this is the summer when things will change and he'll fit in. For starters, he'll be reinvented as 'Ben'. When that doesn't catch on, it's another summer of the perpetual mortification that is teenage existence.Benji spends most of the year as one of the only black kids at an elite prep school in Manhattan, going to roller disco bar mitzvahs, desperately trying to find his place in the social hierarchy. Then he spends his summers in the African-American community of Sag Harbor on Long Island, and is just as confused. He's way behind on the latest handshakes, baffled by new slang, and his attempts to be cool and meet girls are constantly thwarted by his extremely awkward inner geek, braces and a badly cut Afro.


  • From the author of 'The Underground Railroad', Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and Longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize.
    'John Henry Days' is a novel of extraordinary scope and mythic power. It established Colson Whitehead as a pre-eminent American writer of our time.
    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 work of extraordinary scope, revealing how a nation creates its present through the stories it tells of its past.

  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South
    Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood--where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned--Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
    In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor--engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
    Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey--hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

  • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017WINNER OF THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD 2017LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER 2016AMAZON.COM #1 BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Whitehead is on a roll: the reviews have been sublime' Guardian'Luminous, furious, wildly inventive' Observer'Hands down one of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year' Stylist 'Dazzling' New York Review of Books
    Praised by Barack Obama and an Oprah Book Club Pick, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead won the National Book Award 2016 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2017.Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.In Whitehead's razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.At each stop on her journey, Cora encounters a different world. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history.

  • Verticality, architectural and social, is at the heart of Colson Whitehead's first novel that takes place in an unnamed high-rise city that combines twenty-first-century engineering feats with nineteenth-century pork-barrel politics. Elevators are the technological expression of the vertical ideal, and Lila Mae Watson, the city's first black female elevator inspector, is its embattled token of upward mobility.When Number Eleven of the newly completed Fanny Briggs Memorial Building goes into deadly free-fall just hours after Lila Mae has signed off on it, using the controversial 'Intuitionist' method of ascertaining elevator safety, both Intuitionists and Empiricists recognize the set-up, but may be willing to let Lila Mae take the fall in an election year.
    As Lila Mae strives to exonerate herself in this urgent adventure full of government spies, underworld hit men, and seductive double agents, behind the action, always, is the Idea. Lila Mae's quest is mysteriously entwined with existence of heretofore lost writings by James Fulton, father of Intuitionism, a giant of vertical thought. If she is able to find and reveal his plan for the perfect, next-generation elevator, the city as it now exists may instantly become obsolescent.

  • In a dazzlingly original work of non-fiction, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad recreates 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.

  • This New York Times Notable Book from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad is a brisk, comic tour de force about identity, history, and the adhesive bandage industry.The town of Winthrop has decided it needs a new name. The resident software millionaire wants to call it New Prospera; the mayor wants to return to the original choice of the founding black settlers; and the town's aristocracy sees no reason to change the name at all. What they need, they realize, is a nomenclature consultant. And, it turns out, the consultant needs them. But in a culture overwhelmed by marketing, the name is everything and our hero's efforts may result in not just a new name for the town but a new and subtler truth about it as well.

  • In a post-apocalyptic world decimated by zombies, survivor efforts to rebuild are focused on Manhattan, where civilian team member Mark Spitz works to eliminate remaining infected stragglers and remembers his horrifying experiences at the height of the zombie plague.

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