November 23, 2017

THE LRB REVIEWS TEJU COLE’S EVERY DAY IS FOR THE THIEF

THE LRB REVIEWS TEJU COLE’S EVERY DAY IS FOR THE THIEF

The London Review of Books has reviewed Teju Cole’s novel Every Day is for the Thief for its July edition.

Teju Cole and Every Day's cover
Left, author Teju Cole. Right, cover Every Day is for the Thief

 

The review, written by short story writer and critic Adam Mars-Jones, starts off with an acknowledgement of the book’s existence before Cole’s international debut, the prizewinning Open City.

 

“It’s not entirely clear which of Teju Cole’s books, Open City or Every Day Is for the Thief, has seniority. Open City made a strong impression when it appeared in 2011, and now Every Day Is for the Thief has arrived in consolidation, though it first appeared in Nigeria in 2007.”

 

While generally positive, if ambivalent, on Every Day is for the Thief, the review looks unfavourably at Open City noting, as the critic Ikhide Ikheloa has, that, “it’s hard to imagine Open City without a precedent that isn’t mentioned, W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn.”

That submission is, however, less hostile than what comes after.

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Comparing the twist in the latter stages of Open City with a very famous scene in American cinema, the LRB asserts that:

Moji’s accusation bursts out of the book as abruptly as the creature exiting John Hurt’s chest in Alien, but at least viewers of that film knew the character had gone down to a hostile planet and had an unpleasant encounter there. It isn’t technically possible to have a plot twist without having a plot in the first place, so no wonder the effect in Open City is of a dislocation rather than any sort of clinching.

 

Read the LRB’s review of Open City here. {Subscription required}

 

Photocredit, latimes.

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