From the Archives: Colson Whitehead talks process in his 2009 novel, Sag Harbor, the art of manufacturing genuine nostalgia, and the duality of veering “between the capricious horribleness of the everyday and the absurd beauty of existence.”
Colson Whitehead’s fourth novel, Sag Harbor, is driven not by plot but by time, by the fleetingness of summer and its constant reminder of that fleetingness. The beginning is slow, with the sense of months ahead, time to digress and ponder and imagine and internalize, with the thickest, most dense prose socked in the middle of July, the more desperate, urgent bursts as we careen toward Labor Day. The writing is wonderfully languorous throughout, like summer itself, and a perfect match for adolescence: unrestrained and indulgent but wonderfully self-conscious as well.
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