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Teju Cole has embarked on an odessy. It is very clear from the onset that this author is extremely well read and very intelligent. I like his character. I enjoyed the many references to other authors either implicit or veiled. There is a moral component to this book but it is not thoroughly developed. This may be a good thing because the reader may chose to go exploring in their own head. The book takes you to places both physical and emotional. Some philisophical questions are presented but then not really developed, but that may be because the character has chosen consiously not to go there. His reference to the Red Army rape of women in Berlin in l945 was particulary interesting and I was left to ponder why the author chose to include this in the novel. At one point in reference to this tumultious period following the War, the character says " because I wasn't attentive, many details eluded me". Thats to bad ... becasue they elude the reader as well. All in all this is a good book... but it could have been a lot better.
It was interesting but I couldn't get over the feeling that I was being lectured to. There's no plot per se and sometimes the story reads like a philosophy textbook. This is definitely not a book for someone who wants a linear plot.
I looked forward to this book as I had read several favourable reviews but I must confess that the book left me a bit lukewarm. I found some sections a bit contrived - as if the author was seeking to impress with his intelligence. a good read which could have been better if the author just 'spoke' instead of trying to 'compose' all the time.
Eine Dozentin hatte mir das Buch empfohlen, weil es sehr schön geschrieben sei von einem Autor nigerianisch-amerikanischen Autoren. Ich muss zugeben, dass mir die Geschichte gar nicht gut gefallen hat. Die Berichte des Protagonisten über seinen langen Spaziergänge und die oftmals zufälligen Begegnungen mit denen er sehr Philosophische Gespräche hatte haben mich wirklich nicht von den Socken gehauen. Finde wirklich die positiven Rezensionen über ihn nicht nachvollziehbar. Die drei Sterne sind wegen der sehr schnellen und zuverlässigen Lieferung. Insgesamt gebe ich Teju Coles Open City nur 2 Sterne.
Beautifully written and creative. Part of the plotless books that seem to interest young writers now. A little bit too self absorbed, too many high culture references (we trust that you are a cultivated man with refined tastes, Mr. Cole, but not even Proust name dropped at that frequency). But what talent for a first book! OK, give the man another half star.
This is a highly rated 'literary' book. For me it was about a buy meandering around NY, then he throughs in some "deep meaning" here and there. Definitely contemplative and enjoyable, if you want to pause and mediate along with the author's reflections which I guess are as 'deep' as you want to work at it. Nice writing though, and very polished.
If you happen to be into walking, you will appreciate this story. To say it is a novel in the traditional sense is a stretch. The main character walks the streets of New York City, observing, describing and bringing the city into full view to the eyes of the reader. Some of the stories and characters along the way are interesting, and in many sentences, the prose stands out and pulses with beauty. The story wanders a lot. It gives background on the main character, but in pieces, and there doesn't seem to be a specific emphasis as to what part of the background is important to the main character. But the story fails to bring anything substantial together. It leaves one wanting the book to make a bigger point or at least underline the one it is attempting to make.
If you like the kind of fiction that appears in the New Yorker, this book is for you. Quirky, unusual formatting. For example, dialogue with no quotation marks and no new paragraph when the speaker changes. A bunch of sentences from different speakers run together in single paragraphs. I've dived into it several times, but it just doesn't hold my interest. The characters don't speak to me.
I enjoyed the smooth flow of Cole's prose, and parts of Open City were intriguing to me, but I didn't love it. Though I understand the author intended to jump around from experience to experience, thought cycle to thought cycle, etc., I generally prefer a greater degree of continuity, or at least eventual closure of some kind. And a few revelations bothered me, felt out of place, particularly toward the end.
I'm giving it three stars because it held me and because Cole's writing style had a sort of calming effect on me that I appreciate, but I think it could've been a better book if he'd left out some characters and scenes and expanded upon others.
I found this quite fascinating as I was reading it in New York! The language used to paint pictures of the environment was probably the best feature of the novel - so dynamic . I found the excellence in this area not quite matched by the linkage between the events in the plot , which was I guess decidedly secondary. I want to read it again more slowly and try to integrate the rather sudden shock of the woman's disclosure of the psych's earlier behaviour into the whole.