Thursday, October 2

bibliophile [open city]

Despite how much I've been missing city living lately, this city did NOT satisfy.

Open City, Teju Cole

This was named a best book on more than 20 end-of-the-year lists. But not on mine. Blurb before I start complaining:

A haunting novel about identity, dislocation, and history, Teju Cole’s Open City is a profound work by an important new author who has much to say about our country and our world.
Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor named Julius wanders, reflecting on his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. He encounters people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey—which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.

Any author who is listed as "important" is always suspicious to me. Are they important or are their books good? Not always the same thing. I can only assume critics are referring to the writing style and narration, which I did like- the book is just you being in the main character's head. Total stream-of-consciousness. The story itself bored me, and I was trying to like it, trying to get pulled in, because I had heard it was "important". Also, you HAVE to already have guessed that 'Murica sucks for this immigrant. I don't mind that story line, as it's very true for plenty of people, but sometimes when people were rude to him, he had been rude first, making it a justifiable human reaction that has nothing to do with his immigrant status. This came up quite a bit, where he lost my sympathy before engaging with negative stereotyping or prejudices. 

For me, the best thing about this novel is that it reminded me of my dear friend, merMAN, who likes to wonder cities, is very independent, is deeply reflective and has a bad habit of falling in love with girls on the metro.

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