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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers



I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »
  1. $18.20 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Flying Shoes

    Lisa Howorth 9781620403013

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Customer Comments

Richard J has commented on (1) product.

Open City by Teju Cole
Open City

Richard J, January 19, 2012

One of few recent novels that I personally believe can truly stand up to some of the great novels in translation we've seen published (or re-printed) on US shores over the past few years (including those by Bolano, Bernhard, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Sergio Chejfec, Mathias Enard, among others), the wonder is that this novel is NOT translated from another language, and presents itself in such a low-key guise. Cole's narrator--enchanting and nomadic at first, then increasingly insidious (not because he's "evil" necessarily--there is no black and white in this world, only various shadings of gray splashed with color--but because you come to a full awareness that this narrator is avoiding things...things hinted at as the narrative progresses)--does bear comparison with some of the "narrators" of W.G. Sebald's books, but the comparison is not completely apt. One also gets a sense of Camus' L'Etranger here, and I even felt a slight sprinkling of Delillo. But most importantly, this book cannot be compared to any others--I found it unique, refreshing, enchanting, and utterly haunting. Its vision of New York, and the world, is at once clear-headed and shadowed by ghosts: ghosts of history long past, and ghosts of recent history, ghosts of others and ghosts of selves...It's a novel that could well have been written by a veteran novelist in his sixties or seventies with a long list of publications under his belt. But the fact is, it was written by a man in early thirties (I believe), a man who is curious about everything--including his--and our--ghosts...and our choices...and the ghosts of those choices.
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