The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead review
Colson Whitehead: his book traces arrivals at the Port Authority, above and below ground, across bridges and through squares to inevitable departures.Photograph: Sunny Shokrae/New York Times
The Colossus of New York
There’s a feeling we get when we visit a city, especially for the first time. It’s like tapping into the heartbeat of every person who lives there, who spends their days walking the streets, entering or leaving train stations, dodging traffic and eventually taking stock at the end of their day. To Colson Whitehead, this heartbeat is the city itself; its lifeblood is that which flows through the mass of humanity that winds along its roads and pavements, dragging their ambitions and vulnerabilities with them. As if detailing the anatomy of a sentient being, Whitehead traces arrivals at the Port Authority, above and below ground, across bridges and through squares to their inevitable departures. The cadence throughout is hypnotic and the sensation of seeing into and through the lives that eddy around each other in the city that never sleeps is electric. This is not a guidebook to a city; it’s a treatise on never-ending human love and endeavour.