Every Day Is for the Thief

Every Day Is for the Thief

Fiction

Book - 2014
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"For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Michael Ondaatje, Every Day Is for the Thief is a wholly original work of fiction by Teju Cole, whose critically acclaimed debut, Open City, was the winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than twenty publications. Fifteen years is a long time to be away from home. It feels longer still because I left under a cloud. A young Nigerian living in New York City goes home to Lagos for a short visit, finding a city both familiar and strange. In a city dense with story, the unnamed narrator moves through a mosaic of life, hoping to find inspiration for his own. He witnesses the 'yahoo yahoo' diligently perpetrating email frauds from an Internet cafe, longs after a mysterious woman reading on a public bus who disembarks and disappears into a bookless crowd, and recalls the tragic fate of an eleven-year-old boy accused of stealing at a local market. Along the way, the man reconnects with old friends, a former girlfriend, and extended family, taps into the energies of Lagos life--creative, malevolent, ambiguous--and slowly begins to reconcile the profound changes that have taken place in his country and the truth about himself. In spare, precise prose that sees humanity everywhere, interwoven with original photos by the author, Every Day Is for the Thief--originally published in Nigeria in 2007--is a wholly original work of fiction. This revised and updated edition is the first version of this unique book to be made available outside Africa. You've never read a book like Every Day Is for the Thief because no one writes like Teju Cole. NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Chicago Tribune Marie Claire CNN The Huffington Post New York The Millions Time Out Chicago "Every Day Is for the Thief, by turns funny, mournful, and acerbic, offers a portrait of Nigeria in which anger, perhaps the most natural response to the often lamentable state of affairs there, is somehow muted and deflected by the author's deep engagement with the country: a profoundly disenchanted love. Teju Cole is among the most gifted writers of his generation."--Salman Rushdie "Every Day Is for the Thief is a vivid, episodic evocation of the truism that you can't go home again; but that doesn't mean you're not free to try. A return to his native Nigeria plunges Cole's charming narrator into a tempest of chaos, contradiction, and kinship in a place both endearingly familiar and unnervingly strange. The result is a tale that engages and disturbs."--Billy Collins "Every Day Is for the Thief is an amazing hybrid of a book. Imaginative, original, experimental, and sensual, this book revisits the way narrative is constructed with tenderness and style."--Chris Abani, author of Graceland "[Teju Cole] casts a spell that's hard to classify. Open City earned its author comparisons to the German writer W. G. Sebald, whose work wanders and ruminates in a similar way. Every Day Is for the Thief includes photos that Mr. Cole took in Lagos, a Sebaldian touch that is likely to keep the comparisons coming."--The New York Times"-- Provided by publisher
"Visiting Lagos after many years away, Teju Cole's unnamed narrator rediscovers his hometown as both a foreigner and a local. A young writer uncertain of what he wants to say, the man moves through tableaus of life in one of the most dynamic cities in the world: he hears the muezzin's call to prayer in the early morning light, and listens to John Coltrane during the late afternoon heat. He witnesses teenagers diligently perpetrating e-mail frauds from internet cafes, longs after a woman reading Michael Ondaatje on a public bus, and visits the impoverished National Museum. Along the way, he reconnects with old school friends and his family, who force him to ask himself profound questions of personal and national history. Over long, wandering days, the narrator compares present-day Lagos to the Lagos of his memory, and in doing so reveals changes that have taken place in himself. Just as Open City uses New York to reveal layers of the narrator's soul, in Every Day is for the Thief the complex, beautiful, generous, and corrupt city of Lagos exposes truths about our protagonist, and ourselves"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2014]
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780812995787
0812995783
Characteristics: 162 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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u
uncommonreader
Oct 22, 2015

Cole returns to Nigeria from New York City after a 15 year absence and comments on changes in Nigeria and in himself.

q
Qwfwq
Aug 08, 2015

I was a little disappointed that this book was not quite at the level as Cole's first novel Open City, which took a similar approach of a narrator giving impressions and revealing memories as he wanders around a city. But while Open City added a few plot elements which played off this charming, introspective background to almost shocking effect, Every Day does not. In some ways this makes sense, as this book was largely written before Open City, and has simply been reworked and published after it. The writing is less assured and Cole stumbles a couple of times when trying to transition through time in his narration, making it seem like this indeed is his first novel.

Still there are scenes of great power and the descriptions and observations are often quite startling. One hopes that Cole's talent is still developing, because if so then the next book should be amazing.

l
luzeng
Dec 21, 2014

Stunningly relatable to anyone who's gone home to Beijing or Bangalore and realized that they no longer have the bribe-muscles to live there.

b
bookwormjeph
Jul 27, 2014

An excellent read giving enormous insight into how the economy functions in Nigeria, the basis of which is the art of palm greasing, whether it be an 'early' xmas present or a direct bribe.
the story is of a Nigerian man who has lived in New York for many years but returns home and is shocked , but not surprised in a way, the level, extent and overtness of corruption at all levels of society. He attempts to rail against it at first but finds his principles compromised when renewing his passport. A touching, sad, but also uplifting tale of the reality of life in some countries- as Nigeria is not the only country to operate under such largesse.

m
mclarjh
Mar 27, 2014

Matter of fact storytelling, more a memoir or travelogue than a novel. The book is dotted with instantly forgettable photographs by the author.

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