Open City by Teju Cole
A Novel

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Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book • One of the ten top novels of the year —Time and NPR
 
NAMED A BEST BOOK ON MORE THAN TWENTY END-OF-THE-YEAR LISTS, INCLUDING The New YorkerThe AtlanticThe EconomistNewsweek/The Daily Beast • The New Republic • New York Daily News • Los Angeles TimesThe Boston GlobeThe Seattle Times • Minneapolis Star Tribune • GQ • Salon • Slate • New York magazine • The Week • The Kansas City StarKirkus Reviews

A haunting novel about identity, dislocation, and history, Teju Cole’s Open City 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 named Julius wanders, reflecting on his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. He encounters 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.

“[A] prismatic debut . . . beautiful, subtle, [and] original.”—The New Yorker
 
“A psychological hand grenade.”—The Atlantic
 
“Magnificent . . . a remarkably resonant feat of prose.”—The Seattle Times
 
“A precise and poetic meditation on love, race, identity, friendship, memory, [and] dislocation.”—The Economist
 

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 February 8, 2011 by Random House. 274 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Open City

Kirkus Reviews

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Like the novelist, protagonist Julius is a Nigerian immigrant living in Manhattan.

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The New York Times

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... Books of The Times: 'Open City' by Teju Cole - Review MAY 18, 2011 ... When it became dark, I would pick up a book and read by the light of ...

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The New York Times

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And Mr. Cole’s failure to dramatize his alienation — or make it emblematic of some larger historical experience, as Sebald did with his displaced characters — impedes the reader’s progress while underscoring the messy, almost ad hoc nature of the overall narrative.

May 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The New York Times

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The very first words in “Open City,” an indelible debut novel by Teju Cole, imply an inevitability, connecting the narrator’s past with his present task, that of explaining his place in the world: “And so,” his narrator, Julius, says, “when I began to go on evening walks last fall, I found Mornin...

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The Guardian

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Reading Open City, it is important to bear the title in mind, and not become impaled on fixed ideas about what kind of person Julius is.

Aug 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The Guardian

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Critics on both sides of the pond are hailing Teju Cole's novel Open City as a startling, sparkling and original debut.

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The Guardian

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Open City by Teju Cole Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Tell us what you think: Star-rate and review this book ...

Aug 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

AV Club

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The end of this novel about a psychiatrist observing his surroundings takes a sharp turn that recasts what came before.

Mar 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

AV Club

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The book’s title echoes the 1945 film Open City, set in occupied Italy, and Cole’s Open City takes place in another kind of war landscape, with lingering echoes of 9/11 everywhere, and every conversation coded.

Mar 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The Independent

Faber £7.99 At first, Teju Cole’s Open City comes across like a modern, urban rewrite of Rousseau’s Reveries of a Solitary Walker, as the protagonist Julius, a Nigerian doctor, wanders the streets of Manhattan and records his various musings on politics, art and history.

Dec 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The Telegraph

And it’s a sign of Cole’s exceptional control .

Aug 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

Dallas News

He writes beautifully and with striking detail and passion about the subjects Julius cares about, especially music (particularly a piece by Mahler — Das Lied von der Erde) that Julius encounters near the beginning of the book and again in a finely described scene set at Carnegie Hall near the end.

Apr 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

Open Letters Monthly

To the reader’s great surprise, and seemingly to Julius’s, Moji tells Julius that in 1989, when he was fourteen and she was fifteen, Julius forced himself on her at a party her brother hosted.

Apr 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The Daily Beast

It would ruin the novel to reveal what transpires in the final third, but three acts of violence (two of them recollected) shake the novel's placid surface and transforms New York from a benevolent open city into something far more forbidding.

Feb 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The New Yorker

It was a good year for fiction by young writers, though you wouldn’t necessarily know this from the Times Book Review’s selection of best novels of …

Dec 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The New Yorker

Teju Cole has made his novel as close to a diary as a novel can get, and his narrator is both spectator and flâneur.

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

The New Yorker

Online version of the weekly magazine, with current articles, cartoons, blogs, audio, video, slide shows, an archive of articles and abstracts back to 1925

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

Edinburgh Book Review

The novel is set in New York City where the thirty something year old Julius, a psychiatrist of Nigerian and German extraction, is completing a research fellowship.

Mar 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

Frontier Psychiatrist

Open City follows a Nigerian born psychiatrist named Julius through his walks and thoughts around New York City.

Apr 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

https://hungrylikethewoolf.wordpress.com

Julius finds freedom in his wanderings, there is the story of the shoeshiner who purchases the freedom of his sister, his wife, and himself, and the Brussels discussion of freedom, including the comparisons of freedom in Europe with that in America.

May 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

https://www.bookbrowse.com

- Colm Toibin, author of The Master and Brooklyn .

Aug 22 2015 | Read Full Review of Open City: A Novel

Reader Rating for Open City
68%

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