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A young Nigerian living in New York City goes home to Lagos for a short visit, finding a city both familiar and strange. In a city dense with story, the unnamed narrator moves through a mosaic of life, hoping to find inspiration for his own. He witnesses the “yahoo yahoo” diligently perpetrating email frauds from an Internet café, longs after a mysterious woman reading on a public bus who disembarks and disappears into a bookless crowd, and recalls the tragic fate of an eleven-year-old boy accused of stealing at a local market.
Along the way, the man reconnects with old friends, a former girlfriend, and extended family, taps into the energies of Lagos life—creative, malevolent, ambiguous—and slowly begins to reconcile the profound changes that have taken place in his country and the truth about himself.
In spare, precise prose that sees humanity everywhere, interwoven with original photos by the author, Every Day Is for the Thief—originally published in Nigeria in 2007—is a wholly original work of fiction. This revised and updated edition is the first version of this unique book to be made available outside Africa. You’ve never read a book like Every Day Is for the Thief because no one writes like Teju Cole.
Praise for Every Day Is for the Thief
“[Teju Cole’s] novels are lean, expertly sustained performances. The places he can go, you feel, are just about limitless.”—The New York Times
“By turns funny, mournful, and acerbic . . . Teju Cole is among the most gifted writers of his generation.”—Salman Rushdie
“Crisp, affecting . . . 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 (Editors’ Choice)
“Remarkable . . . a luminous rumination on storytelling and place, exile and return . . . This is an extraordinary novel, a radiant meditation on the nature of happiness and faith, corruption, misfortune and belonging.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Shimmering . . . Cole has a way of superimposing emotional landscapes over his portraits of physical places that is transcendent. Every Day Is for the Thief is as much as an epic journey into the heart of the traveler as the place traveled.”—The Seattle Times
“Every Day Is for the Thief is a wonderful meditation on modern African life that will help cement Cole’s reputation as a prose stylist. More than that, it is a book that never fails to find a thoughtful and essential thing to say, with each of its finely crafted sentences and paragraphs offering a vision of justice and order to a people beset by so many woes.”—Los Angeles Times
“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.”—Billy Collins