book review: open city

I picked up Teju Cole’s Open City because I saw his bit in The Atlantic about the White-Saviour Industrial Complex. This book isn’t really about Africa, but about being a man distanced from the world.

Julius is a Nigerian-born psychiatry resident in New York and the story follows him walking through his city, a trip to Belgium and his memories. There are multiple relationships touched upon, including that of his German mother, an elderly professor and people half-remembered from his childhood.

The book creates this sympathy for a calloused and detached person whose job is to connect with and resolve issues for his patients. It’s very good. Contemplative. A revelation in the end changes how you perceive Julius throughout the book, and that’s probably as close as the book gets to a plot.

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