Literary landscapes: novels of disparate places, themes and souls.

Author:Hill, Christopher Jack
Position:Apex Hides the Hurt - Brief article - Book review

* Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead Doubleday, March 2006 $22.95, ISBN 0-385-50795-X

Some readers may wonder: What "in the world is a nomenclature consultant?" Would the average conventional reader accept such a person as the protagonist of a piece of fiction? Anybody who says that the art of naming disparate commercial products is a normal profession is lying. Lying.

Again, Whitehead assertively goes where no man (or writer) has gone before--while brilliantly using a harsh, cynical protagonist as a culture critic. The essence of great writing and exceptional fiction is intellect, skill, imagination and originality. Whitehead quietly preens himself on all of these characteristics by using the consultant as his underlying theme. It's clear that the subject is a bit (very) unusual.

Whitehead storms our conscious and subconscious minds with delightful prose that depicts the essence and the tragedy of tradition, identity, culture and brand-driven commercialism. Whitehead uses a small town called Winthrop and a pompous lead character to remind contemporaries of the...

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