Open City
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Open City

3.5 (10,778 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The bestselling debut novel from a writer heralded as the twenty-first-century W. G. Sebald.

A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss and surrender, Open City follows a young Nigerian doctor as he wanders aimlessly along the streets of Manhattan. For Julius the walks are a release from the tight regulations of work, from the emotional fallout of a failed relationship, from lives past and present on either side of the Atlantic.

Isolated amid crowds of bustling strangers, Julius criss-crosses not just physical landscapes but social boundaries too, encountering people whose otherness sheds light on his own remarkable journey from Nigeria to New York - as well as into the most unrecognisable facets of his own soul.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 126 x 198 x 19mm | 210g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 0571279430
  • 9780571279432
  • 75,379

Review quote

Winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
" "
"Reminiscent of the works of W.G. Sebald, this dreamy, incantatory debut was the most beautiful novel I read this year--the kind of book that remains on your nightstand long after you finish so that you can continue dipping in occasionally as a nighttime consolation." -Ruth Franklin, "The New Republic"
"A psychological hand grenade." -Alexis Madrigal, "The Atlantic," Best Books I Read This Year
"A meditative and startlingly clear-eyed first novel." -"Newsweek"/Daily Beast Writers' Favorite Books 2011
"This year, literary discovery came, for me, in the form of Teju Cole's debut novel, "Open City," a deceptively meandering first-person narrative about a Nigerian psychiatry resident in New York. The bonhomous flaneur who strolls Manhattan from top to bottom, reveals, in the course of his walking meditations, both more about the city and about himself than we - or indeed he - could possibly anticipate. Cole writes beautifully; his protagonist is unique; and his novel, utterly thrilling." -Clare Messud in the" Globe and Mail"
"On the surface, the story of a young, foreign psychiatry resident in post-9/11 New York City who searches for the soul of the city by losing himself in extended strolls around teeming Manhattan. But it's really a story about a lost nation struggling to regain a sense of direction after that shattering, disorienting day 10 years ago. A quiet, lyrical and profound piece of writing." -"Seattle Times," 32 of the Year's Best Books
"[Open City is] lean and mean and bristles with intelligence. The multi-culti characters and streets of New York are sharply observed and feel just right...Toward the end, there's a poignant, unexpected scene in a tailor's shop that's an absolute knockout." -Jessica Hagedorn, author of Toxicology in Salon.com "Writers choose their Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
" "
"Reminiscent of the works of W.G. Sebald, this dreamy, incantatory debut was the most beautiful novel I read this year--the kind of book that remains on your nightstand long after you finish so that you can continue dipping in occasionally as a nighttime consolation." -Ruth Franklin, "The New Republic"
"A psychological hand grenade." -Alexis Madrigal, "The Atlantic," Best Books I Read This Year
"A meditative and startlingly clear-eyed first novel." -"Newsweek"/Daily Beast Writers' Favorite Books 2011
"This year, literary discovery came, for me, in the form of Teju Cole's debut novel, "Open City," a deceptively meandering first-person narrative about a Nigerian psychiatry resident in New York. The bonhomous flaneur who strolls Manhattan from top to bottom, reveals, in the course of his walking meditations, both more about the city and about himself than we - or indeed he - could possibly anticipate. Cole writes beautifully; his protagonist is unique; and his novel, utterly thrilling." -Clare Messud in the" Globe and Mail"
"On the surface, the story of a young, foreign psychiatry resident in post-9/11 New York City who searches for the soul of the city by losing himself in extended strolls around teeming Manhattan. But it's really a story about a lost nation struggling to regain a sense of direction after that shattering, disorienting day 10 years ago. A quiet, lyrical and profound piece of writing." -"Seattle Times," 32 of the Year's Best Books
"[Open City is] lean and mean and bristles with intelligence. The multi-culti characters and streets of New York are sharply observed and feel just right...Toward the end, there's a poignant, unexpected scene in a tailor's shop that's an absolute knockout." -Jessica Hagedorn, author of Toxicology in Salon.com "Writers choose their favorite books of 2011"
"I couldn't stop reading Teju Cole's debut novel and was blow " "
" "
"Reminiscent of the works of W.G. Sebald, this dreamy, incantatory debut was the most beautiful novel I read this year--the kind of book that remains on your nightstand long after you finish so that you can continue dipping in occasionally as a nighttime consolation." -Ruth Franklin, "The New Republic"
"A psychological hand grenade." -Alexis Madrigal, "The Atlantic," Best Books I Read This Year
"A meditative and startlingly clear-eyed first novel." -"Newsweek"/Daily Beast Writers' Favorite Books 2011
"This year, literary discovery came, for me, in the form of Teju Cole's debut novel, "Open City," a deceptively meandering first-person narrative about a Nigerian psychiatry resident in New York. The bonhomous flaneur who strolls Manhattan from top to bottom, reveals, in the course of his walking meditations, both more about the city and about himself than we - or indeed he - could possibly anticipate. Cole writes beautifully; his protagonist is uni More Praise for Open City
"Reminiscent of the works of W.G. Sebald, this dreamy, incantatory debut was the most beautiful novel I read this year--the kind of book that remains on your nightstand long after you finish so that you can continue dipping in occasionally as a nighttime consolation." -Ruth Franklin, The New Republic
"A psychological hand grenade." -Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic, Best Books I Read This Year
"A meditative and startlingly clear-eyed first novel." -Newsweek/Daily Beast Writers' Favorite Books 2011
"On the surface, the story of a young, foreign psychiatry resident in post-9/11 New York City who searches for the soul of the city by losing himself in extended strolls around teeming Manhattan. But it's really a story about a lost nation struggling to regain a sense of direction after that shattering, disorienting day 10 years ago. A quiet, lyrical and profound piece of writing." -Seattle Times, 32 of the Year's Best Books
"[ "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
"
"[Teju Cole] has a phenomenal voice . . . prodigious talent, beautiful language . . . ["Open City"] has echoes of "Mrs. Dalloway"."--WNYC's "The Takeaway"

"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"

"A quiet novel that somehow manages to scream.""--The Boston Globe"
" "
"Quietly powerful.""--O: The Oprah Magazine" Advance praise for "Open City"
""Open City" is a meditation on history and culture, identity and solitude. The soft, exquisite rhythms of its prose, the display of sensibility, the lucid intelligence, make it a novel to savour and treasure."--Colm Toibin, 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. The juxtaposition of encounters, seen through the eyes of a knowing flaneur, surface and then dissolve like a palimpsest composed, outside of time, by a brilliant master."--Rawi Hage, author of" Cockroach" and"""De Niro's Game," winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
""Open City" is not a loud novel, nor a thriller, nor a nail-biter. What it is is a gorgeous, crystalline, and cumulative investigation of memory, identity, and erasure. It gathers its power inexorably, page by page, and ultimately reveals itself as no
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About Teju Cole

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.
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Rating details

10,778 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 18% (1,956)
4 35% (3,789)
3 30% (3,204)
2 13% (1,403)
1 4% (426)
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