THE ARRIVAL OF ENIGMAS: Teju Cole’s Prismatic New Novel, “Open City.”

Copyright The New Yorker
Publishers now pitch their books like Hollywood concepts, so Teju Cole’s first novel, “Open City” (Random House; $25), is being offered as especially appealing to “readers of Joseph O’Neill and Zadie Smith,” and written in a prose that “will remind you” of W. G. Sebald and J. M. Coetzee. This is shorthand for “post-colonialism in New York” (O’Neill), “lively multiracial themes” (Smith), “free-flowing form with no plot, narrated by a scholarly solitary walker” (Sebald), “obviously serious” (Coetzee), and “finely written” (all of the above). There is the additional comedy that Cole’s publishers, determined to retain the baby with the bathwater, boldly conjoin Smith and O’Neill, despite Smith’s hostility, advertised in an essay entitled “Two Paths for the Novel,” to O’Neill’s expensive and upholstered “lyrical realism.”
(More about this book soon either in my Reviews section or in Reading Table.)
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2011/02/28/110228crbo_books_wood#ixzz1FlPwcF7M

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *