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The Resource Open city : a novel, Teju Cole

Open city : a novel, Teju Cole

Label
Open city : a novel
Title
Open city
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Teju Cole
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Feeling adrift after ending a relationship, Julius, a young Nigerian doctor living in New York, takes long walks through the city while listening to the stories of fellow immigrants until a shattering truth is revealed
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, 2012.
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2011.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ 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.) --Staff (Reviewed November 1, 2010) (Publishers Weekly, vol 257, issue 43, p)
  • One of the most intriguing novels you'll likely read, this debut by Nigerian-born Cole is constructed in what appears to be a traditional novel format but is riddled with ambiguity. By the end, there is so much disjuncture that readers will wonder whether the protagonist is the classic unreliable narrator. Julius, a half-Nigerian, half-German psychiatry intern living in New York, takes to walking about the city after breaking up with his girlfriend; his numerous encounters cause him to reflect on his own life. Julius seems depressed, though his story does not depict him as such. The overall weight of the ponderous first-person narrative appears to point to the essential loneliness of the human condition. Most disturbing is Julius's lack of any reaction to a startling personal revelation in the final pages, and this leaves the impression that the book is meant to show the workings of a highly intelligent yet unstable character. VERDICT The alienated but sophisticated viewpoint is oddly poignant and compelling. Fans of introspection may enjoy this work, which reads like Camus's L'etranger meets Samuel R. Delaney's Dahlgren without the sf but with the same lack of closure.— Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L., CA --Henry Bankhead (Reviewed November 15, 2010) (Library Journal, vol 135, issue 19, p58)
  • /* Starred Review */ A masterful command of narrative voice distinguishes a debut novel that requires patience and rewards it.  Like the novelist, protagonist Julius is a Nigerian immigrant living in Manhattan. He works as a psychiatric resident, though there are long stretches of the story in which his profession barely factors. He has a former girlfriend, some medical colleagues, even a few friends, but none emerge as fully fleshed characters in a novel that consists mostly of Julius's restless wanderings throughout the city, where he withstands the crush of a very diverse populace while remaining very much alone. If Julius is the only character the reader really gets to know, even he seems disembodied, a stranger to himself. ("And this double of mine had, at that precise moment, begun to tussle with the same problem as its equally confused original. To be alive, it seemed to me, as I stood there in all kinds of sorrow, was to be both original and reflection, and to be dead was to be split off, to be reflection alone.") As Julius traverses boundaries of neighborhood, country, chronology and race, the reader begins to wonder about the perspective of a protagonist who seems so disaffected. Rather than establishing momentum, the circular, elliptical narrative focuses on the everyday, though in Manhattan this encompasses muggings, car crashes and passing encounters with various strangers. A climactic revelation toward the end casts fresh light on all that has preceded: "Each person must, on some level, take himself as the calibration point for normalcy, must assume that the room of his own mind is not, cannot be, entirely opaque to him," reflects Julius. "Perhaps this is what we mean by sanity: that, whatever our self-admitted eccentricities might be, we are not the villains of our own stories." Determining whether the novel's main character is hero, villain or somewhere in between might require the reader to start over with the book after finishing it.(Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2010)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
378326
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Cole, Teju
Dewey number
823/.92
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR9387.9.C67
LC item number
O64 2010
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Nigerians
  • Identity (Psychology)
  • Race
Target audience
adult
Label
Open city : a novel, Teju Cole
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
259 pages
Isbn
9781400068098
Isbn Type
(hbk. : acid-free paper)
Lccn
2010008927
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 553365107
  • (OCoLC)553365107
Label
Open city : a novel, Teju Cole
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
259 pages
Isbn
9781400068098
Isbn Type
(hbk. : acid-free paper)
Lccn
2010008927
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 553365107
  • (OCoLC)553365107

Library Locations

    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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