Open City, by Teju Cole

A densely written novel with little action but tremendous awareness of one human being’s self-understanding or lack thereof. A devotion to art and music cannot overcome the narrator’s indifference to others. The book destroyed a tenet of mine: that a life devoted to the arts makes us more compassionate and self-aware. Not always so.


The narrator can speak eloquently about the open city but cannot speak to his own savage behavior. A great mirror to the uneven nature of political awareness, personal commitment and the lure of incredible moral forgetting that we can make of art.

Things don’t go away just because you choose to forget them.

Teju Cole has written an astonishing, haunting book. Read it, and his twitter feed, too. He won’t disappoint y0u.