Open City

Teju Cole, Author
Teju Cole, Random, $25 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6809-8
Reviewed on: 11/01/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Paperback - 259 pages - 978-0-8129-8009-7
Paperback - 259 pages - 978-0-571-27943-2
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-09680-6
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-571-27942-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-2530-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4498-4128-7
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-571-27944-9
Open Ebook - 165 pages - 978-0-679-60449-5
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-957-32-7231-1
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Possibly the only negative thing to say about Cole's intelligent and panoramic first novel is that it is a more generous account of the recent past than the era deserves. America's standing in the world is never far from the restless thoughts of psychiatry resident Julius, a Nigerian immigrant who wanders Manhattan, pondering everything from Goya and the novels of J.M. Coetzee to the bankruptcy of Tower Records and the rise of the bedbug epidemic. In other words, it is an ongoing reverie in the tradition of W.G. Sebald or Nicholson Baker, but with the welcome interruptions of the friends and strangers Julius meets as he wanders Penn Station, the Upper West Side, and Brussels during a short holiday, and amid discussions of Alexander Hamilton, black identity, and the far left—a truly American novel emerges. Julius pines over a recent ex, mourns the death of a friend, goes to movies, concerts, and museums, but above all he ruminates, and the picture of a mind that emerges in lieu of a plot is fascinating, as it is engaged with the world in a rare and refreshing way. (Feb.)
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