Open City

Front Cover
Faber & Faber, Aug 4, 2011 - Fiction - 272 pages

'The past, if there is such a thing, is mostly empty space, great expanses of nothing, in which significant persons and events float. Nigeria was like that for me: mostly forgotten, except for those few things that I remembered with outsize intensity.'

Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. Though he is navigating the busy parts of town, the impression of countless faces does nothing to assuage his feelings of isolation. But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey-which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.

A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss, dislocation, and surrender, Teju Cole's Open City seethes with intelligence. Written in a clear, rhythmic voice that lingers, this book is a mature, profound work by an important new author who has much to say about our world.

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User Review  - jonfaith -

I've ingested 180 pages this weekend and have been struck spellbound. Yes, the influence of Sebald pervades, but the book I am most reminded of is Zone by Mathias Enard. It was the NYTBR which brought ... Read full review

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User Review  - alexrichman -

A timely book written some time ago. Our narrator Julius is superficially alluring - thoughtful, intelligent - but as the book progresses a darker truth emerges of pretension, selfishness, and something even worse. A fine study of toxic masculinity masquerading as ‘nice guy’ness. Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Teju Cole was raised in Nigeria and came to the United States in 1992. He is a writer, photographer, and professional historian of early Netherlandish art. Open City is his first novel. He lives in New York City.

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