BOOK REVIEW: Going Back to Lagos in Teju Cole’s “Every Day Is for the Thief”

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Author Teju Cole and the cover of his book, "Every Day is For the Thief." (©Teju Cole / Random House) Author Teju Cole and the cover of his book, “Every Day is For the Thief.” (©Teju Cole / Random House)

Imagine a patient, observant and precise writer like the late W.G. Sebald reborn as a Nigerian exile, returning to and then wandering about that country’s teeming and chaotic cultural capital, Lagos. That, in broad strokes, is the voice of the narrator of Teju Cole‘s fine novel, Every Day Is for the Thief.

“The air in the strange environment of this city is dense with story, and it draws me into thinking of life as stories,” Cole’s unnamed narrator says halfway through the novel, as he becomes more deeply immersed in the disorder, the striving, the corruption and the inventiveness of Lagos and its people. “The narratives fly at me from all directions … And that literary texture of lives full of unpredictable narrative, is what appeals.”

Cole earned…

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