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Open City: A Novel by Teju Cole

Open City: A Novel (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Teju Cole

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941599,255 (3.72)66
Title:Open City: A Novel
Authors:Teju Cole
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2012), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library, Books Read 2015, Books Read 2012
Tags:fiction, american, new york city, walking, nigeria, brussels, immigrants, re-read, book group

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Open City by Teju Cole (2011)


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English (53)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (59)
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Gorgeous book. I've got a list of places in New York I've missed in the pass or want to revisit with new eyes. (Also a long list of books and music to check out as well :-) ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Gorgeous book. I've got a list of places in New York I've missed in the pass or want to revisit with new eyes. (Also a long list of books and music to check out as well :-) ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Gorgeous book. I've got a list of places in New York I've missed in the pass or want to revisit with new eyes. (Also a long list of books and music to check out as well :-) ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
This book is a meditation on urban living and the happenstance of running into people – people who often provide food for thought. The geography of Manhattan and Brussels (and their inhabitants) seem to be a metaphor for the author’s interior philosophical rambling. A transplant from Africa, the narrator also gives us insight into many things that we take for granted. Overall the book resembles the pacing of the quiet and then blaring symphonies which the young psychiatrist is fond of listening to in his spare time. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
I listened to the audible version of this book, narrated by Kevin Mambo. Mambo's voice was perfect match for Cole's beautiful, soothing prose. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I lost the purpose or the direction of the story and I am not sure if I missed something or if it in fact lacks direction. I am rating it 4 stars until I get the chance to actually read the story myself. ( )
  Lynsey2 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Want to write a breakout first novel? The conventional wisdom says ingratiate yourself (Everything Is Illuminated), grab the reader by the lapels (The Lovely Bones), or put on an antic show (Special Topics in Calamity Physics). Teju Cole's disquietingly powerful debut Open City does none of the above. It's light on plot. It's exquisitely written, but quiet; the sentences don't call attention to themselves. The narrator, a Nigerian psychiatry student, is emotionally distant, ruminative, and intellectual. His account of a year spent walking around New York, encountering immigrants of all kinds, listening to their stories and recalling his own African boyhood, achieves its resonance obliquely, through inference—meaning you have to pay attention. But Open City is worth the effort.

Immigration and exile are not new literary subjects (Salman Rushdie, Chang Rae-Lee, Jhumpa Lahiri), but Cole's treatment of them has a quiet clarity and surprising force. Will Open City find a breakout audience? I wonder, given its slow pace and darkness of its theme. Still, I hope so; it's the most thoughtful and provocative debut I've read in a long time.
Teju Cole’s Open City is neither a melodrama, nor is it about a city that has technically been declared "open" during wartime. The novel is set in New York City, no more than a couple of years ago, and narrated by a Nigerian psychiatrist on a research fellowship. Throughout the novel, the psychiatrist, Julius, wanders the streets of the city taking careful note of everything he sees, and everyone with whom he interacts. His observations are recorded in beautifully clear prose with the precision of a clinician, or at least the way one might wish to imagine the precision of a clinician. The descriptions of the cityscape around him are interspersed with memories of his boyhood in Nigeria. His time in New York is interrupted by a trip to Brussels which Julius takes using up his entire four week vacation time, in the vague, unrealized hope of somehow encountering his grandmother there. He is, however, unsure as to whether she is still alive, or even if she lives there at all. Without a clear plan to find her, he continues his habit of wandering, observing, interacting, recording.
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'Death is a perfection of the eye' (Part 1)
'I have searched myself' (Part 2)
for Karen
and for Wah-Ming and Beth
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And so when I began to go on evening walks last fall, I found Morningside Heights an easy place from which to set out into the city.
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Jeder Mensch muss sich unter bestimmten Bedingungen als Sollwert der Normalität setzen und davon ausgehen, dass seine Psyche für ihn selbst nicht undurchschaubar ist, nicht undurchschaubar sein kann. Vielleicht verstehen wir das unter geistiger Gesundheit: dass wir uns selbst, so verschroben wir uns auch finden mögen, niemals als die Bösewichte unserer eigenen Geschichte wahrnehmen.
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Feeling adrift after ending a relationship, Julius, a young Nigerian doctor living in New York, takes long walks through the city while listening to the stories of fellow immigrants until a shattering truth is revealed.

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