E-journalist J. Sutter travels to West Virginia for the first John Henry Days celebration. Colson Whitehead's eagerly awaited and triumphantly acclaimed new 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.
Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards - Fiction, Winner, 2002 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Awards - Fiction, Honor, 2002
Online version: Whitehead, Colson, 1969- John Henry Days.