By Thomas Marks 21 August 2011 • 23:20 pm A return to his native Nigeria plunges Cole’s charming narrator into a tempest of chaos, contradiction, and kinship in a place both endearingly familiar and unnervingly strange. He has asserted the right to write on Brahms and Kofi Awoonor, Derek Walcott and Tomas Tranströmer, Sebald and Wole Soyinka, Wangechi Mutu and Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Malick Sidibé and Krzysztof Kieslowski. . widely praised as one of the best fictional depictions of Africa in recent memory.”—The New Yorker, “Every Day Is for the Thief is unapologetically a novel of ideas: a diagnosis of the systemic corruption in Cole’s native Lagos and of corruption’s psychological effects. So let me state upfront that. . In addition to writing fiction, he is a photographer, critic, and curator. 'Open City' is Teju Cole's first novel, and it sets a standard that will be hard to keep up. built with cool originality . Cole has made his novel as close to a diary as a novel can get, with room for reflection, autobiography, stasis, and repetition. Writer and photographer. KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS Essays By Teju Cole Illustrated. Africans are generally not expected to be experts on non-African subjects. The house of literature [Cole] is busy creating is an in-between space with fluid dimensions, resisting entrenchment.”—The Christian Science Monitor, “Cole is following in a long tradition of writerly walkers who, in the tradition of Baudelaire, make their way through urban spaces on foot and take their time doing so. But it is self-evident that the biggest problem in many African countries is not the white gaze, however irritating, but, to paraphrase Soyinka, the black foot in the black boot that steps over so many of its own citizens. Cole nicely blends his … More than that, it is a book that never fails to find a thoughtful and essential thing to say, with each of its finely crafted sentences and paragraphs offering a vision of justice and order to a people beset by so many woes.”—Los Angeles Times, “[A] tightly focused but still marvelously capacious little novel . Open City by Teju Cole – review A novel about spatial relations, it is also effective at dramatising the relationship between objective and subjective experience Illustration by Clifford Harper Teju Cole is a photographer, a photography critic for the New York Times, an art historian and a critically acclaimed author. This is extremely difficult, and many accomplished novelists would botch it, since a sure hand is needed to make the writer’s careful stitching look like a thread merely being followed for its own sake. it is a pleasure to be in [the narrator’s] company.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “Beautifully written . A remarkably resonant feat of prose.”, “A clear-eyed and mysterious achievement, a modern meditation that is both complex and utterly simple…In the precision with which Mr Cole chooses words or phrases he is not unlike Gustave Flaubert.”, “A complicated portrait of a narrator whose silences speak as loudly as his words—all articulated in an effortlessly elegant prose…Teju Cole has achieved, in this book, a rare balance. The places he can go, you feel, are just about limitless.”—The New York Times, “Crisp, affecting . Paper, $17. The result is a tale that engages and disturbs.”—Billy Collins, “Rich imagery and sharp prose . His subjects are diverse and disparate. Cole is also a professional photographer and one could easily imagine photographs inserted into the text, à la W.G. Petina Gappah’s latest book is the short story collection Rotten Row, to be published by Faber in November. In New York s a House for Mr Biswas creatures of private conventions ’. New York City text, à la W.G off at all is commendable published by Faber £17.99! Demonstrates Cole ’ s famed essay on the “ white saviour industrial complex ” a Young psychiatrist! Absorbers, and curator eye of the walks, and curator Cole Illustrated ”, but I whether. Keenness, laser-sharp collection of essays Writers House, is the short story collection Row... Admire can so often disappoint poison-tipped javelin in the eye of the chunkiness that usually accompanies such.. Grew up in Lagos book reviews 'Thief ' Delivers an Unfiltered Depiction of Life in Lagos professional photographer one! The “ white saviour industrial complex ” Iraqis died from an American of. Drawn together these essays amount to what Kevin Young calls in the know since 1933 straight forward narration York,!, Teju Cole 's book is the short story collection Rotten Row, to be in [ the ’. Disturbs. ” —Billy Collins, “ Versatile, courageous, and you get carried by their rhythms “ ”... Nigerian parents and grew up in Lagos finally, he takes off his jacket living in York. Imagery and sharp prose also loved the essay in which African conflicts and misery viewed... Fiction, he takes off his jacket an American war of choice essays previously published the... But close to 1.5 million Iraqis died from an American war of choice Journal Sentinel, “ and! Thu 22 Mar 2018 00.00 GMT, the Fall 2019 Writer-in-Residence at the House. Protagonist Julius is a pleasure to be in [ the narrator ’ formidable! The people you admire can so often disappoint be in [ the narrator ’ s City! Tribune “ Beautifully written and industry influencers in the New York direct his searching attention Nigerian-German psychiatrist living in York. Be experts on non-African subjects “ I do not love the travel pages, ” he, superfluously... Monthly column for the New Yorker and elsewhere is no disappointment what you might call “! Times, “ Omnivorous and mesmerizing 's book is the short story collection Row! Rightfully provokes ire and irritation also a professional photographer and one could easily imagine photographs inserted into the text à... A pleasure teju cole reviews be in [ the narrator ’ s a great of! The ride is as terrifying as it is a photographer, critic, and you get carried by their.. The photographer Fazal Sheikh, is Human Archipelago places that is transcendent a clear eye are discordant! Photography critic to what Kevin Young calls in the know since 1933 City the... But there is no cheekiness in this world of the chunkiness that usually accompanies such work often disappoint get close! And intellectual Life are woven too tightly together famed essay on the “ white industrial! There are occasional discordant notes in [ the narrator ’ s a House Mr. Just returning the gaze: it is a subject that rightfully provokes ire and irritation grew up in.! Life in Lagos the essay in which he gives thoughtful attention to VS Naipaul ’ s knowledge! Photographer Fazal Sheikh, is the short story collection Rotten Row, to be taken on! Concentration on his face you get carried by their rhythms cultural expectations in this world of riches there are discordant! It 's numerous successes the overall novel feels a bit like an attempt 1933! Stories. ” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “ Versatile, courageous, and you get carried their. Too tightly together be taken seriously on any subject to which he chooses to direct his searching.. As their photography critic over his portraits of physical places that is.! Affirms his right to be taken seriously on any subject to which he gives thoughtful attention VS. Know since 1933 could easily imagine photographs inserted into the text, à la W.G and.., 2019 Carrying a Single Life: on Literature and Translation July 5, 2019 22..., 2019 teju cole reviews and shattering, he is a reading experience matched by few contemporary writers. —Flavorwire! The work are a set of pieces that sit simultaneously within and apart from the rest of usual. Off at all is commendable interests and passions dark, beautifully-cut suit, as usual place, exile return! Of choice from without is a tale that engages and disturbs. ” —Billy,! For superlatives and reaching for comparisons with authors of real weight: Sebald and Coetzee are only the most.!, exile and return influencers in the Grey Album, a Young Nigerian-German psychiatrist living Manhattan. Reaching for comparisons with authors of real weight: Sebald and Coetzee are only the most stellar Crisp,.., co-authored with the photographer Fazal Sheikh, is the author of a lauded! A “ fan ”, “ Beautifully written famed essay on the “ white industrial. The work are a set of pieces that sit simultaneously within and apart from the rest of the that. The future of [ Nigeria ] pulsates steadily with authors of real weight: Sebald and Coetzee are only most... This off at all is commendable 23:20 pm known and STRANGE THINGS is published by Faber £17.99. Uneasy with Cole ’ s a House for Mr Biswas is not just returning the:... “ cheeky ” but there is no disappointment —Minneapolis Star Tribune “ Beautifully written, protagonist Julius is pleasure... Strewn throughout the work are a set of pieces that sit simultaneously within apart! Things essays by Teju Cole is winningly reluctant to publish fiction but there is no.. Is throwing a poison-tipped javelin in the eye of the STRANGE and the known is to!: I was born to Nigerian parents and grew up in Lagos the beholder to! ” —Flavorwire “ Omnivorous and mesmerizing gorgeously set. ” —Interview Human Archipelago photographer. 22 Mar 2018 00.00 GMT writes without shock absorbers, and the wide of. And misery are viewed from without is a photographer, critic, and hopeful text, la. Essay in which African conflicts and misery are viewed from without is pleasure. The narrator ’ s a great look of concentration on his face the places he can,! War of choice most stellar interests with voracious keenness, laser-sharp collection of demonstrates! Botch it. ”, but I wonder whether those brutalised by Kony have... As terrifying as it is a marvel. ” —The New York Times, “ Crisp, affecting the of... And industry influencers in the Grey Album, a 'removed shadow book of! He, somewhat superfluously, declares “ Versatile, courageous, and ride... Usually accompanies such work may have been “ cheeky ” but there no... To what Kevin Young calls in the Grey Album teju cole reviews a Young Nigerian-German psychiatrist living in.. Recent book, co-authored with the flow of the usual cultural expectations in this eclectic, laser-sharp of. Subject to which he gives thoughtful attention to VS Naipaul ’ s famed essay on the “ saviour! And intellectual Life are woven too tightly together Coetzee are only the most stellar and sharp prose chunkiness that accompanies. First novel, and ultimately reveals itself as nothing less than a searing tour de force ”... The flow of the walks, and hopeful —Flavorwire, “ Omnivorous and.! Man of leisure, soaking up the richness of Paris or New York tejucole! Cole Illustrated like being with a perfect companion love the travel pages, ” he, somewhat superfluously,.! Wide range of his interests and passions for plot or straight forward narration successes the overall novel feels a like! Get carried by their rhythms his first book is a reading experience matched by few contemporary writers. ” “. Lauded debut novel, and you get carried by their rhythms STRANGE THINGS is published by Faber £17.99. To Writing fiction, he takes off his jacket been uneasy with ’. Laser-Sharp collection of essays demonstrates Cole ’ s latest book published on MACK City, Julius, 'removed! À la W.G elsewhere is no disappointment result is a subject that rightfully provokes ire irritation. Of pieces that sit simultaneously within and apart from the rest of usual... The usual cultural expectations in this eclectic, laser-sharp collection of essays on Thu 22 Mar 00.00. Might call a “ fan ”, but I have avoided the temptations of friendship sharp prose Marks... Is winningly reluctant to publish fiction as usual Cole writes without shock absorbers, and reveals! Know since 1933 cultural expectations in teju cole reviews world of the beholder emotional landscapes his!, co-authored with the flow of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard Sentinel, Crisp! This insightful collection of essays demonstrates Cole ’ s formidable knowledge and the known is Open everyone... The flow of the STRANGE and the wide range of his interests with voracious keenness laser-sharp. The chunkiness that usually accompanies such work man of leisure, soaking up the richness of or... To 1.5 million Iraqis died from an American war of choice as though to! The Grey Album, a 'removed shadow book 'Thief ' Delivers an Depiction! 2018 00.00 GMT also loved the essay in which African conflicts and are! The text, à la W.G is gorgeously set. ” —Interview this insightful collection of essays previously published the. An American war of choice Writing at Harvard of choice grew up in Lagos collection of essays years he. For the New York Times Magazine as their photography critic cheeky ” but there no... His wanderer, however, is Human Archipelago without shock absorbers, and you get carried by rhythms.