Author: Colson Whitehead
Released: 1999
Genre: Fantastical drama

That one of the most important novels about race to be released in the last 20 years concerns two competing schools of thought about elevator repair is a testament to the genius of Colson Whitehead, one of the greatest living American authors. Whitehead understands the usefulness of genre in the same way that Tarantino does.

But Whitehead is smarter than the auteur, and his work demonstrates a more nuanced (if nihilistic) understanding of what it means to be lonely and human. Or, let Whitehead tell it, lonely because you’re human. The Intuitionist is a mish-mash of noir, Afrofuturism, and Kafka. It’s cerebral, challenging, and belongs on your bookshelf.

Fun Fact: In addition to writing novels, Whitehead also has a successful side hustle as a contributor to publications like The Village Voice and The New York Times.