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Extended Audio Sample Open City, by Teju Cole Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Teju Cole Narrator: Kevin Mamb Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 doing his residency wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past.

But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An indelible debut...a compassionate and masterly work.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Open City is a meditation on history and culture, identity and solitude. The soft, exquisite rhythms of its prose, the display of sensibility, the lucid intelligence, make it a novel to savor and treasure.”

    Colm Tóibín, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Magnificent and shattering. A remarkably resonant feat of prose.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Beautiful, subtle, and finally, original...What moves the prose forward is the prose—the desire to write, to defeat solitude by writing. Cole has made his novel as close to a diary as a novel can get, with room for reflection, autobiography, stasis, and repetition. This is extremely difficult, and many accomplished novelists would botch it, since a sure hand is needed to make the writer’s careful stitching look like a thread merely being followed for its own sake. Mysteriously, wonderfully, Cole does not botch it.”

    New Yorker

  • “A clear-eyed and mysterious achievement, a modern meditation that is both complex and utterly simple.”


  • “A work of great originality, sophistication and—a precious rarity in first novels these days—brevity.”

    Independent (London)

  • “A complicated portrait of a narrator whose silences speak as loudly as his words—all articulated in an effortlessly elegant prose…Teju Cole has achieved, in this book, a rare balance. He captures life’s urgent banality, and he captures, too, the ways in which the greater subjects glimmer darkly in the interstices.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “The most thoughtful and provocative debut I’ve read in a long time.”

    Daily Beast

  • “The pages of Open City unfold with a tempo of a profound, contemporary walk through layers of histories and their posthumous excavations. The juxtaposition of encounters, seen through the eyes of a knowing flâneur, surface and then dissolve like a palimpsest composed, outside of time, by a brilliant master.”

    Rawi Hage, author of De Niro’s Game

  • “A gorgeous, crystalline, and cumulative investigation of memory, identity, and erasure. It gathers its power inexorably, page by page, and ultimately reveals itself as nothing less than a searing tour de force. Teju Cole might just be a W. G. Sebald for the twenty-first century.”

    Anthony Doerr, author of The Shell Collector

  • “[An] intelligent and panoramic first novel...engaged with the world in a rare and refreshing way.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Masterful.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Unique and pensive.”


  • “Poignant and compelling.”

    Library Journal

  • Winner of the 2012 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award
  • A 2011 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Slate Magazine Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Seattle Times Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Los Angeles Times Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Economist Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 NPR Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Guardian Best Book of the Year for Fiction
  • A 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • A 2011 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
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About the Author
Author Teju Cole

Teju Cole was raised in Nigeria and came to the United States in 1992. He is a writer, photographer, and professional historian of early Netherlandish art. He lives in New York City.