Apex Hides the Hurt
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3.48 / 5

"Apex Hides the Hurt" Summary

By Colson Whitehead

fiction | 224 pages | Published in NaN

From the MacArthur and Whiting Award–winning author of John Henry Days and The Intuitionist comes a new, brisk, comic tour de force about identity,history, and the adhesive bandage industryWhen the citizens of Winthrop needed a new name for their town, they did what anyone would do—they hired a consultant. The protagonist of Apex Hides the Hurt is a nomenclature consultant. If you want just the right name for your new product, whether it be automobile or antidepressant, sneaker or spoon, he’s the man to get the job done. Wardrobe lack pizzazz? Come to the Outfit Outlet. Always the wallflower at social gatherings? Try Loquacia. And of course, whenever you take a fall, reach for Apex, because Apex Hides the Hurt. Apex is his crowning achievement, the multicultural bandage that has revolutionized the adhesive bandage industry. “Flesh-colored” be damned—no matter what your skin tone is—Apex will match it, or your money back.After leaving his job (following a mysterious misfortune), his expertise is called upon by the town of Winthrop. Once there, he meets the town council, who will try to sway his opinion over the coming days. Lucky Aberdeen, the millionaire software pioneer and hometown-boy-made-good, wants the name changed to something that will reflect the town’s capitalist aspirations, attracting new businesses and revitalizing the community. Who could argue with that? Albie Winthrop, beloved son of the town’s aristocracy, thinks Winthrop is a perfectly good name, and can’t imagine what the fuss is about. Regina Goode, the mayor, is a descendent of the black settlers who founded the town, and has her own secret agenda for what the name should be. Our expert must decide the outcome, with all its implications for the town’s future. Which name will he choose? Or perhaps he will devise his own? And what’s with his limp, anyway?Apex Hides the Hurt brilliantly and wryly satirizes our contemporary culture, where memory and history are subsumed by the tides of marketing.

ISBN_13:9780385507950

Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

A nomenclature consultant is hired to rename a small town, but the task forces him to confront his own past and the power of language.

Introduction

"Apex Hides the Hurt" by Colson Whitehead is a thought-provoking novel that delves into the themes of identity, race, and the construction of history. The story follows the journey of a nomenclature consultant who is tasked with naming a small town with a contentious past. Through his experiences, the novel explores the complexities of personal and collective identity, as well as the power dynamics embedded in language and naming. Set in a small town with a troubled history, the novel takes readers on a compelling and introspective journey.

Brief Synopsis

The novel is set in a small town grappling with its history, and the protagonist, a nomenclature consultant, is hired to provide the town with a new name. As he delves into the town's past and present, he encounters a web of intricate relationships and conflicting narratives. The protagonist's journey becomes intertwined with the lives of the town's residents, leading to a deeper exploration of identity, history, and the power dynamics at play.

Plot Overview and Setting

The novel unfolds in a small town that is grappling with its history and seeking a fresh start through a new name. The protagonist, a nomenclature consultant, is tasked with the responsibility of bestowing the town with a new identity. As he immerses himself in the town's dynamics, he becomes entangled in the complex web of personal and collective histories that shape the town's identity. The setting serves as a microcosm for exploring larger themes of identity, history, and the power dynamics inherent in naming and language.

Main Characters

The novel features a diverse cast of characters, each contributing to the intricate tapestry of the town's history and the protagonist's journey.

CharacterDescription
The ProtagonistA nomenclature consultant grappling with his own identity and the complexities of naming.
Town ResidentsDiverse individuals with intertwined stories, each carrying their own history and perspectives.
Municipal AuthoritiesFigures of power and influence in the town, shaping its narrative and direction.

Summary of Different Story Points Over Chapters

The novel unfolds through a series of pivotal story points that shape the protagonist's journey and the town's narrative.

Chapter 1-3: The Arrival

The protagonist arrives in the town and is introduced to the task of renaming it. He begins to navigate the complexities of the town's history and its impact on the residents.

Chapter 4-6: Uncovering Histories

As the protagonist delves deeper into the town's past, he uncovers conflicting narratives and personal histories that complicate the process of renaming the town.

Chapter 7-9: Power Dynamics

The dynamics of power and influence within the town become more pronounced as the protagonist interacts with the municipal authorities and residents, each vying for control over the town's narrative.

Chapter 10-12: Identity and Naming

The protagonist grapples with his own identity and the implications of naming, leading to introspective moments that resonate with the larger themes of the novel.

Chapter 13-15: Resolution and Revelation

The novel reaches a crescendo as the protagonist navigates the complexities of the town's history and comes to a resolution regarding the renaming process.

Main Events

The novel is punctuated by significant events that drive the narrative and deepen the exploration of its central themes.

EventDescription
Naming ConsultationThe protagonist's initial interactions with the town's residents and authorities as he embarks on the task of renaming the town.
Historical RevelationsThe uncovering of conflicting historical narratives that shape the town's identity and the perspectives of its residents.
Power StrugglesThe protagonist's encounters with the power dynamics at play within the town, leading to tensions and revelations.
Personal ReflectionsMoments of introspection and self-discovery for the protagonist as he grapples with his own identity and the implications of naming.
Resolution and RenamingThe culmination of the protagonist's journey as he navigates the complexities of the town's history and arrives at a decision regarding its new name.

Themes and Insights

"Apex Hides the Hurt" delves into profound themes and offers thought-provoking insights that resonate with readers.

Identity and History

The novel intricately explores the complexities of personal and collective identity, intertwined with the town's troubled history and the power dynamics at play.

Language and Naming

Through the protagonist's role as a nomenclature consultant, the novel delves into the power of language and the implications of naming, offering insights into the construction of identity and narratives.

Power Dynamics

The dynamics of power and influence are central to the narrative, as the protagonist navigates the town's power structures and grapples with the implications for its future.

Personal and Collective Narratives

The novel weaves together personal and collective narratives, highlighting the ways in which individual histories contribute to the larger tapestry of the town's identity.

Reader's Takeaway

"Apex Hides the Hurt" offers readers a compelling and introspective journey into the complexities of identity, history, and the power of language. Through its thought-provoking exploration of these themes, readers are invited to reflect on the ways in which individual and collective narratives shape our understanding of the world around us. The novel's rich tapestry of characters and its immersive setting make for a captivating reading experience that lingers in the mind long after the final page.

Conclusion

In "Apex Hides the Hurt," Colson Whitehead delivers a masterful exploration of identity, history, and the power dynamics inherent in language and naming. Through a captivating narrative set in a small town with a troubled past, the novel invites readers to ponder the complexities of personal and collective narratives. With its thought-provoking themes and richly drawn characters, "Apex Hides the Hurt" leaves a lasting impression and offers readers a profound and introspective reading experience.

Apex Hides the Hurt FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Apex Hides the Hurt'?

    The genre of 'Apex Hides the Hurt' is literary fiction.

  2. Who is the author of 'Apex Hides the Hurt'?

    The author of 'Apex Hides the Hurt' is Colson Whitehead.

  3. What is the book about?

    The book 'Apex Hides the Hurt' follows a nomenclature consultant who is hired to rename a town and finds himself caught in the midst of the town's conflicting identity politics.

  4. Is 'Apex Hides the Hurt' part of a series?

    No, 'Apex Hides the Hurt' is a standalone novel and not part of a series.

  5. What are the major themes in the book?

    Some major themes in 'Apex Hides the Hurt' include identity, belonging, the power of language, and the impact of history on a community.