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Open City


Open City Cover

ISBN13: 9780812980097
ISBN10: 0812980093
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss, dislocation, and surrender, Teju Cole’s Open City seethes with intelligence. It is a profound work by an important new author who has much to say about our country and our world.

Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency wanders aimlessly, reflecting on 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.


“An indelible debut...a compassionate and masterly work." The New York Times Book Review


"Magnificent...the trip is as meaningful as the destination. Open City is a remarkably resonant feat of prose." The Seattle Times


"A reader feels the density of [Julius’s] mind but also the fragility of his identity." Los Angeles Times


"[A] prismatic debut...beautiful, subtle, [and] original." The New Yorker

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Scot Nakagawa, October 23, 2014 (view all comments by Scot Nakagawa)
Teju Cole has created a literary treasure. Open City is a story of migration, globalization, and of life in the post-modern world. It brims with humility, compassion, and the robust, vigorous, broad intellect of a writer with a keen, curious mind and an inspiring love of knowledge. I loved every page, often marking pages to reread. I can't recommend it more strongly.
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Richard J, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Richard J)
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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Product Details

Cole, Teju
Random House Trade Paperbacks
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
7.98 x 5.13 x 0.56 in 0.42 lb

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Open City New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Random House Trade Paperbacks - English 9780812980097 Reviews:
"Review" by , “An indelible debut...a compassionate and masterly work."
"Review" by , "Magnificent...the trip is as meaningful as the destination. Open City is a remarkably resonant feat of prose."
"Review" by , "A reader feels the density of [Julius’s] mind but also the fragility of his identity."
"Review" by , "[A] prismatic debut...beautiful, subtle, [and] original."
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