Probably more subtle than [book:The Intuitionist], but I liked Lila Mae and the fantastical architecture of that book better than the deliberate anomie of the nameless narrator here. Apparently it's a terrible cliche to compare ambitious black literary novelists to [author:Ralph Ellison], but Whitehead's references and inversions (from the namelessness of the narrator to the distance from the city below to the metaphorical use of real history) are so deliberate and omnipresent I do it anyway. A "nomenclature specialist" (he comes up with brand names) is invited to select the name for a Midwestern town, after he has an unspecified breakdown related to his work on truly flesh-colored bandaids ("Apex Hides the Hurt"). Fantastical, slightly surreal, biting, with the geeky adoration of buried history and strange facts that made The Intuitionist
an unexpected delight, too.