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Winner, 2012 PEN/Hemingway Award
Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award (Fiction)
A 2011 New York Times Notable Book
A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss, dislocation, and surrender, Teju Cole’s Open City seethes with intelligence. It 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 doing his residency wanders aimlessly, reflecting on his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. Though he is navigating the busy parts of town, the impression of countless faces does nothing to assuage his feelings of isolation. But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering 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.
“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