The ball here is an allusion to La Rochefoucauld, to which Naipaul responds with barely veiled condescension: “He’s very good, he speaks so well, he speaks well.”. . Taking his cues from W. G. Sebald, John Berger, and Bruce Chatwin, Cole constructs a narrative of fragments, a series of episodes that he allows to resonate.”—The New York Times Book Review, “Remarkable . All critical reviews › Redhill Technologies. I have long been uneasy with Cole’s famed essay on the “white saviour industrial complex”. I particularly admire the sure-footed negotiation Cole makes as he defies the conventions placed on writers of colour associated with the more temperate climes, swerving deftly away from the deadening expectations of “representation” and “authenticity”. Sebald. The ideas make the character and vice versa.”—The New Republic, “Every Day Is for the Thief is a testament to [Nigeria’s] power to inspire.”—Vanity Fair, “Excellently crafted . As a photographer, Teju Cole has a penchant for the scuffed and distressed surfaces, materials and tools that form rectilinear patterns on construction sites. Watching with strangers while reading Cole was like being with a perfect companion. In a world where Gauguin is feted for his Tahitian subjects, Andre Magnin is a leading expert on African art, and squadrons of western international civil servants are trained at Ivy League universities to become experts in something called “African Studies”, the same assumptions, and indeed courtesies, are not extended the other way. The manner in which African conflicts and misery are viewed from without is a subject that rightfully provokes ire and irritation. . . This is extremely difficult, and many accomplished novelists would botch it, since a sure hand is needed to make the writer’s careful stitching look like a thread merely being followed for its own sake. But it is self-evident that the biggest problem in many African countries is not the white gaze, however irritating, but, to paraphrase Soyinka, the black foot in the black boot that steps over so many of its own citizens. But even in this world of riches there are occasional discordant notes. A remarkably resonant feat of prose.”, “A clear-eyed and mysterious achievement, a modern meditation that is both complex and utterly simple…In the precision with which Mr Cole chooses words or phrases he is not unlike Gustave Flaubert.”, “A complicated portrait of a narrator whose silences speak as loudly as his words—all articulated in an effortlessly elegant prose…Teju Cole has achieved, in this book, a rare balance. Here, it strikes a particularly jarring note. To get too close to the people you admire can so often disappoint. Mysteriously, wonderfully, Cole does not botch it.”, “Magnificent and shattering. Cole has made his novel as close to a diary as a novel can get, with room for reflection, autobiography, stasis, and repetition. A brilliant collection. —The Guardian, “ There’s almost no subject Cole can’t come at from a startling angle.” . it is a pleasure to be in [the narrator’s] company.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Beautifully written . That Cole pulls this off at all is commendable. . This is not just returning the gaze: it is throwing a poison-tipped javelin in the eye of the beholder. . Cole is a novelist and essayist. “I do not love the travel pages,” he, somewhat superfluously, declares. widely praised as one of the best fictional depictions of Africa in recent memory.”—The New Yorker, “Every Day Is for the Thief is unapologetically a novel of ideas: a diagnosis of the systemic corruption in Cole’s native Lagos and of corruption’s psychological effects. Africans are generally not expected to be experts on non-African subjects. On every level of engagement and critique, ‘Known and Strange Things’ is an essential and scintillating journey.” Cole is also a professional photographer and one could easily imagine photographs inserted into the text, à la W.G. . Pre-publication book reviews and features keeping readers and industry influencers in the know since 1933. Languages Inhabited: Teju Cole's Favourite Albums Teju Cole , August 24th, 2016 09:28 Following the publication of his first collection of essays, Known And Strange Things, the writer and photographer pens us his own Baker's Dozen, picking "as many kinds of albums that really mattered to me as possible" The American-Nigerian writer floats free of the usual cultural expectations in this eclectic, laser-sharp collection of essays. through [Every Day Is for the Thief].”—The Huffington Post, “Every Day Is for the Thief is an amazing hybrid of a book. . There is such richness in these essays that it is not possible, in this short space, to do justice to all their delights. Strewn throughout the work are a set of pieces that sit simultaneously within and apart from the rest of the book. a luminous rumination on storytelling and place, exile and return . BLIND SPOT by Teju Cole photographed by Teju Cole Quickview Readers are certain to find a personal favourite: I loved Always Returning, an affecting meditation on the death of WG Sebald in which Cole wanders through the cemetery of St Andrew’s in Framingham Earl, Norfolk, looking for Sebald’s grave and trying, at the same time, to have a coherent conversation about his pilgrimage with Jason, the taxi driver who got him there. 3.0 out of 5 stars Ive read about 1/3, In Memoriam Okwui Enwezor.) Emotional and intellectual life are woven too tightly together. 9 people found this helpful. Teju Cole, the Fall 2019 Writer-in-Residence at the Writers House, is the author of five books. Teju Cole was born in the United States in 1975 and raised in Nigeria.He is the author of Every Day Is for the Thief and Open City,which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the New York City Book Award, and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. We are perennially other people’s subjects, never the anthropologists, and when we show that we can return the gaze with equal intensity, that we can also glory in expertise that goes beyond the innate knowledge of our own worlds, the response is often similar to Naipaul’s: “He’s very good, he speaks so well, he speaks well.”. This is not, of course, to say that there is nothing to criticise in the self-absorbed feelgood culture where poverty is the backdrop to individual empowerment, and where, as Cole writes, “the banality of evil transmutes to the banality of sentimentality”. Go with the flow of the walks, and you get carried by their rhythms. ‘Sure-footed’: Teju Cole in Rome, June 2016. ublishing can be a cliquish and incestuous business; it is not uncommon for writers from the same agencies and publishers to review each other. Opposite a shot of scaffolding, ladders and shadows – all favourite motifs – on the island of Bali, he writes a sort-of manifesto for the method of this book. So let me state upfront that Teju Cole and I have the same publisher, Faber, who have put out his new essay collection, Known and Strange Things, an appropriate and beautiful title, taken from a poem by Seamus Heaney, for a book that will be deservedly lauded. ‘We are creatures of private conventions,’ he writes. Cole writes without shock absorbers, and the ride is as terrifying as it is gorgeously set.”—Interview. The Lagos presented here … But close to 1.5 million Iraqis died from an American war of choice. The same can be said for the social and critical commentary by award-winning novelist Cole…Cole’s insights cast fresh light on even the most quotidian of objects…[and his] collection performs an important service by elevating public discourse in an unsettled time.”, “To categorize Cole as an “essayist” or “social commentator” would be to diminish the remarkable range of his oeuvre. His most recent book, co-authored with the photographer Fazal Sheikh, is Human Archipelago. . Open City, Teju Cole's début novel, is a strangely wonderful perambulatory reading experience: insightful, lyrical, decidedly modern and politically prescient. That it was his first book is a marvel.”—The A.V. The soft, exquisite rhythms of its prose, the display of sensibility, the lucid intelligence, make it a novel to savour and treasure.”, —Colm Tóibín, author of The Master and Brooklyn, “The pages of Open City unfold with the tempo of a profound, contemplative walk through layers of histories and their posthumous excavations. Teju Cole belongs to the former group.” Those words were written by the author Aleksandar Hemon, and they’re proven true by Known and Strange Things, Teju Cole’s companionable new essay collection. Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole review – a world of riches. . . 'Open City' is Teju Cole's first novel, and it sets a standard that will be hard to keep up. —San Francisco Chronicle, “[Cole] ranges over his interests with voracious keenness, laser-sharp prose, an open heart and a clear eye… These essays demonstrate the transformative power of communion with gifted and committed master craftsmen and women who have given, and continue to give, the very best of themselves, and thus raise their achievement from the merely competent to the sublime.” Click here to order a copy for £14.75, The American-Nigerian writer floats free of the usual cultural expectations in this eclectic, laser-sharp collection of essays, 'New York problems': literature puts a city on the couch. ‘But we are also looking for ways to enlarge our coasts.’ This collection provides a way.”, “Cole is a literary performance artist, his words meticulously chosen and deployed with elegance and force. This is important. There is a touch of Alfred Kazin and Joseph Mitchell—two of the most observant walkers in [New York City’s] history—in his books’ open-eyed flaneurs.”—New York Observer, “It’s a novella, it’s a travel journal, it’s a laundry list of methods of thievery, it’s an examination of Nigerian societal norms, it’s the lamentations of an outsider, it’s a photo album. . Go with the flow of the walks, and you get carried by their rhythms. —The New York Times Book Review, “In this dazzlingly wide-ranging collection, [Cole] draws an insightful map of literal and metaphoric inter-connections.” Club, “A Teju Cole novel is a reading experience matched by few contemporary writers.”—Flavorwire, “Omnivorous and mesmerizing . In Teju Cole’s Open City, Julius, a young Nigerian-German psychiatrist living in New York, wanders the city. Cole is also a professional photographer and one could easily imagine photographs inserted into the text, à la W.G. To read, see, and travel with him is to be changed by the questions that challenge him.”, “Picture a kaleidoscope: each shining component is a small jewel for sure, but taken together, they form a stunning picture that can be viewed from myriad dazzling angles. A phenomenal voice, beautiful language.”, “One of the most intriguing novels you’ll likely read…the alienated but sophisticated viewpoint is oddly poignant and compelling…reads like Camus’s L’etranger.”, “[Teju Cole’s] novels are lean, expertly sustained performances. Does precisely what literature should do: it brings together thoughts and beliefs, and blurs borders…A compassionate and masterly work.”, “Beautiful, subtle, and finally, original…What moves the prose forward is the prose—the desire to write, to defeat solitude by writing. Teju Cole is Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard. I dipped in and out of the essay again as I moved around, often welling up at the grace and playful dignity of Keïta’s subjects – his women with elaborate hairstyles and headdresses, with bare feet and hands calloused from overwork; and his achingly affectionate portraits of the strutting young men, newly made civil servants posing with stereos, plastic flowers, reading glasses and the same motor car in every picture, all symbols of their aspiration for modernity. Like the novelist, protagonist Julius is a Nigerian immigrant living in Manhattan. Cole is a novelist and essayist. built with cool originality . Teju Cole, best known in development circles for his trenchant critique of what he called ‘The White Saviour Industrial Complex’, is also a sophisticated novelist and art critic. Books: Open City, Every Day is for the Thief, Known and Strange Things, Bl Are the Chibok girls as deeply concerned with how their “Africa” is viewed in the west, or would they rather just be free? The tweet may have been “cheeky” but there is no cheekiness in this deadly essay. . His world of the strange and the known is open to everyone: the only passport required is curiosity. By Thomas Marks 21 August 2011 • 23:20 pm His subjects are diverse and disparate. Petina Gappah’s latest book is the short story collection Rotten Row, to be published by Faber in November. A return to his native Nigeria plunges Cole’s charming narrator into a tempest of chaos, contradiction, and kinship in a place both endearingly familiar and unnervingly strange. . Cole nicely blends his … . Read more. The essays demonstrate the transformative power of communion with gifted and committed master craftsmen and women who have given, and continue to give, the very best of themselves, and thus raise their achievement from the merely competent to the sublime. Teju Cole's book is exquisitely written, descriptive and imaginative: brilliant in many ways. What began as a viral tweet which, in his words, “cheekily” lacerates the liberal consciences of Oprah Winfrey, Nicholas Kristof and others, became an even more viral essay responding to a fatuous documentary about the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony made by some of those wide-eyed, well-meaning Americans who decant themselves over “Africa” by the planeload. However despite it's numerous successes the overall novel feels a bit like an attempt. it is a pleasure to be in [the narrator’s] company.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “Beautifully written . . The juxtaposition of encounters, seen through the eyes of a knowing flâneur, surface and then dissolve like a palimpsest composed, outside of time, by a brilliant master.”, —Rawi Hage, author of De Niro’s Game, winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, “A gorgeous, crystalline, and cumulative investigation of memory, identity, and erasure. The places he can go, you feel, are just about limitless.”—The New York Times, “Crisp, affecting . -- Teju Cole (@tejucole) March 8, 2012. He captures life’s urgent banality, and he captures, too, the ways in which the greater subjects glimmer darkly in the interstices.”, —Claire Messud, The New York Review of Books, “The most thoughtful and provocative debut I’ve read in a long time. . . . . The unnamed walker of Every Day moves with urgency, and does so in a cityscape that threatens to slide, avalanche-like, into violence.”—The Boston Globe, “[Every Day Is for the Thief] expands and reinforces the accomplishments of Open City, confirming along the way that Teju is one of the foremost—for the lack of a better term—bicultural writers.”—Aleksandar Hemon, Bomb, “Every Day Is for the Thief is a vivid, episodic evocation of the truism that you can’t go home again; but that doesn’t mean you’re not free to try. But, remarkably, the book avoids any of the chunkiness that usually accompanies such work. . . . So I am what you might call a “fan”, but I have avoided the temptations of friendship. My mother taught French. by Teju Cole ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 8, 2011 A masterful command of narrative voice distinguishes a debut novel that requires patience and rewards it. So I was pleased to pass from these troubled questions, to which I have no answers, and instead take immersive pleasure in the more contemplative essays, where Cole celebrates the best of what makes us human. Teju Cole is a photographer, a photography critic for the New York Times, an art historian and a critically acclaimed author. Critics have been scrabbling for superlatives and reaching for comparisons with authors of real weight: Sebald and Coetzee are only the most stellar.