Blind Spot by Teju Cole

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Teju Cole has composed a lyrical essay in photographs paired with texts, with each set identified by its locale, including — to name only a few — Auckland, Brooklyn, Brazzaville, Hadath El Jebbeh, Lagos, McMinnville, Paris, Queens, São Paulo...
-NY Times

Synopsis

In this innovative synthesis of words and images, the award-winning author of Open City and photography critic for The New York Times Magazine combines two of his great passions.

One of Time’s Best Non-Fiction Books of 2017 So Far

“To look is to see only a fraction of what one is looking at. Even in the most vigilant eye, there is a blind spot. What is missing?”

When it comes to Teju Cole, the unexpected is not unfamiliar: He’s an acclaimed novelist, an influential essayist, and an internationally exhibited photographer. In Blind Spot, readers follow Cole’s inimitable artistic vision into the visual realm as he continues to refine the voice, eye, and intellectual obsessions that earned him such acclaim for Open City.

Here, journey through more than 150 of Cole’s full-color, original photos, each accompanied by his lyrical and evocative prose, forming a multimedia diary of years of near-constant travel: from a park in Berlin to a mountain range in Switzerland, a church exterior in Lagos to a parking lot in Brooklyn; landscapes, beautiful or quotidian, that inspire Cole’s memories, fantasies, and introspections. Ships in Capri remind him of the work of writers from Homer to Edna O’Brien; a hotel room in Wannsee brings back a disturbing dream about a friend’s death; a home in Tivoli evokes a transformative period of semi-blindness, after which “the photography changed. . . . The looking changed.”

As exquisitely wrought as the work of Anne Carson or Chris Marker, Blind Spot is a testament to the art of seeing by one of the most powerful and original voices in contemporary literature.

Advance praise for Blind Spot

“[Teju] Cole’s fiction and essays are incredible, unexpected, and beautiful; he’s also a spectacular photographer. His first collection of photographs, each image accompanied by his stunning prose, promises to show us the world through his eyes, which always seem to see things in a brilliant new light.”—Lisa Lucas, National Book Foundation

“Once you get a taste of [Cole’s] writing, you can quickly (and hungrily) burn through what’s available. Thankfully, Blind Spot will indulge the senses by combining both of Cole’s loves in this . . . full-color collection of Cole’s photos, accompanied by his prose.”—The Week

“Many artists have felt the lure of juxtaposing photographs and text, but few have succeeded as well as Teju Cole. He approaches this problem with an understanding of the limitations and glories of each medium.”—Stephen Shore, author of Uncommon Places

“Memoir meets museum catalog . . . A strange, cerebral, and very beautiful journey.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This ambitious study deserves a spot on the shelf next to Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida and Susan Sontag’s On Photography.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Praise for Teju Cole

“The places [Teju Cole] can go, you feel, are just about limitless.”—The New York Times

“There’s almost no subject Cole can't come at from a startling angle.”—The Boston Globe

“In following [Cole’s] wanderings, I have often a sense of beholding something more delicate . . . but also more ordinary and more heartbreaking than the eye can typically bear. [His] photographs . . . insist on intimacy, transparency, confrontation.”—Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go
 

About Teju Cole

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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.
 
Published June 13, 2017 by Random House. 352 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Robert Pinsky on Jun 01 2017

Teju Cole has composed a lyrical essay in photographs paired with texts, with each set identified by its locale, including — to name only a few — Auckland, Brooklyn, Brazzaville, Hadath El Jebbeh, Lagos, McMinnville, Paris, Queens, São Paulo...

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