Teju Cole discusses his novel Open City (now in paperback) and its potential for use in college common reading programs:
Open City is narrated by Julius, a young psychiatrist of mixed Nigerian and German heritage. The story begins in 2006 in New York City and is essentially an account of the year that follows in the life of Julius. He wanders the post-9/11 city, at times talking to strangers and at other times keeping to himself, but always sorting through the layers of the city’s history.
This is a novel of the mind, in the modernist tradition of Virginia Woolf and W. G. Sebald. But it also owes something to James Baldwin’s essayistic freedom. Julius is a loner and he is distrustful of causes, and as we follow his life—in addition to New York, he travels briefly to Brussels, and he remembers incidents from his Nigerian childhood—we see that he is also averse to drama. Because of his mixed heritage, he was an outsider Continue reading