Teju Cole’s Open City was a big favorite for many lit folks last year, including Anthony at Times Flow Stemmed, a blog I admire. The book seems similar to Sebald’s strange opus The Rings of Saturn. In short, very excited for this one. From the write-up at Times Flow Stemmed:
Open City is narrated by Julius, a part Nigerian, part German psychiatry student. Beginning with a strong Sebaldian influence as Julius aimlessly wanders around the streets and parks of New York, the story develops into a modern inquiry into the foundation of personality, memory, nationhood and dislocation.
Although written in the first person the narrator remains at a distance, a lonely, bookish character, more comfortable discussing literary or musical influences (Mahler, Coetzee, Barthes) than developing a relationship with a childhood friend or dying professor. This distance allows Cole, as James Wood explains . . . to make his novel ‘as close to a diary as a novel can get, with room for reflection, autobiography, stasis, and repetition.’