Open City: Teju Cole


The tour de force: Very strange story. If I can call it a story, I am not really sure. It’s more a reflection on identity (Julius, the protagonist is half Nigerian, half German), an unusual amount of historical facts that sometimes related, but most of the times do not seems to fit in. The most surprising thing is that the ensemble makes sense somehow, which is strange in itself. Is this book about New-York or about Julius? I still don’t know… I actually agree with this quote:

Après 350 pages, Julius est presque aussi insaisissable que dans les premiers paragraphes alors qu’il vient de livrer des pensées, des souvenirs, des anecdotes dont la force et l’intimité sont indiscutables.  Le Monde Livres.

Brownie point: for being beyond unexpected. This book will make you think so hard that you will be wondering why you are reading it in the first place. The whole point was to take a break from life and enjoy a good book by a Nigerian brother. As they would say in naija movies, it’s a lie. The author has a background in classical music, so you will encounter a lot of references on that topic. Very unusual, since I don’t know the first thing about classical music really. This is African literature right, what is Shubert, Mozart and classical music doing in it exactly? I am still asking myself that question. So when I say stereotypes about African author that’s exactly what I meant. I shouldn’t be surprised.