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Read & Download Every Day is for the Thief Ü PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ë A young Nigerian writer living in New York City returns to Lagos in search of a subject and himself For readers of JM Coetzee and Chimamanda AdichieVisiting Lagos after many years away Teju Cole's unnamed narrator rediscovers his hometown as botD uestions 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. I wanted to like this book Really I did After all Teju Cole is an impressive writer and when I read an excerpt from this work a couple of years ago I was swept along on a tide of awe Teju could write What precise descriptions What elegant sentencesBut I have endured a mounting dismay as I’ve read this book The premise is that a young Nigerian emigrant returns to Nigeria after fifteen years away in order to recapture some of his past He toys with the idea of making his return permanent and in so doing takes on an outsider insider perspective as he re examines a culture with which he is no longer fully familiar He is disillusioned by the corruption he finds the religious fundamentalism the general willingness to settle for what is “good enough” but he is also fascinated by the almost animal instinct to fight and survive that he sees everywhere He is unimpressed by the country’s lack of “culture” – the National Museum is in poor condition the bookshops in Lagos are sorely lacking in literary fiction or a fair representation of local Nigerian writers; of the jazz shops he visits he is impressed by only one – an expensive Western style store that has a good selection of both music and literary fiction In simple terms he observes and criticizes Nigeria through a Westerner’s lens He asks why can’t Nigeria be like America or Europe This is an important project because it would seem that a Nigerian who has lived outside of Nigeria for some time would be in the best position to offer a careful critiue of the country’s culture and government Certainly he is an erudite narrator seamlessly blending literary and musical references and historical anecdotes But his tone is hectoring Even if a subtitle on the first page of the book indicates that Every Day is for the Thief is supposed to be fiction one loses this sense when one observes the photographs that appear at the end of almost every chapter and acknowledges that this is not a traditional novella but a platform for the narrator and perhaps even the author to outline his grievances with Nigeria and maybe indulge his penchant for photography Occasionally there is a glimpse of fictive potential such as when the narrator observes a woman on a bus she is reading one of his favorite authors and contemplates having a conversation with her But the woman disappears into the crowd and the potential for unselfconscious narrative is lost Worse very rarely are the sentences in this book appealing They are clean certainly They paint sharp visuals of what the narrator observes but they are not particularly beautiful because they do not combine insight with poetry a talent that Teju Cole demonstrates in his much longer and impressive work Open CityPerhaps to be fair I should point out that this was TC’s first work of fiction The narrator in Every Day is for the Thief is the narrator in Open City Like a friend has pointed out perhaps TC was merely prepping for Open City with this book But I could not help wanting What a wonderful book this would have been if the narrator’s political agenda had been presented in tandem with literary experimentation beautiful sentences and scenes where the narrator takes part instead of standing apart and aloof How much powerful if than simply critiue the narrator had spent time celebrating the parts of Nigerian life and society that he appreciated Of course it is no good to simply romanticize the idea or reality of home I say this as an immigrant but to dismiss home’s potential by viewing it through a strictly Western lens is to do home a major disservice Nigeria or any other African country really cannot be like America or Europe because of different factors including but not limited to history topography tribe and language Three stars because this is very capable writing and I’m a Teju Cole fan but no I did not like this book

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A young Nigerian writer living in New York City returns to Lagos in search of a subject and himself For readers of JM Coetzee and Chimamanda AdichieVisiting 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 h. Since the publicist’s blurb is misleading let me first define what Every Day Is for the Thief REALLY is It’s an older work by Teju Cole published in 2007 in Africa It’s fiction only in the loosest sense; in reality it’s a short book the size of a novella that reads partially like a travelogue or an analysis of the Nigerian psycheWhat the publicist gets right is that it’s very very good As Teju Cole displayed in Open City he definitely has writing chops His seamless insights well crafted prose and sense of storytelling are just spectacular My review is based on what this book really IS rather than what it is presented to beTeju Cole – or his narrator I suspect there’s a lot of blending – cast an unsparing look at life in Nigeria He writes this “Nigeria was declared the most religious country in the world Nigerians were found to be the world’s happiest people and in Transparency International’s 2005 assessment Nigeria was ranked sixth from the bottom out of the 158 countries assessed in the corruption perceptions index Religion corruption happiness”All three of these ingredients are on high display in this slight booka travelogue really providing an insider’s view about life in Nigeria When the narrator arrives back in Lagos after an extended stay in New York he gets to experience his country’s creative malevolent ambiguous energies again with new eyesCorruption is rampant and bribes are omnipresent The tragic past – from slavery to dictatorship – is buried The narrator muses “What I wonder are the social conseuences of life in a country that has no use for history” A constant sense of foreboding about the fragility of life is constantly present Supernatural explanations are favored for the most ordinary events Yet through all this there’s a sense of hope the narrator glimpses a young woman on a bus reading Michael Ondaatje for exampleSince this book was written seven years ago it’s hard to tell what has changed; I wish an update had been added The author or narrator deplore the lack of Nigerian and African writers but in the past year or two there has been a renaissance of extraordinary debut writing A Igoni Barrett Aminatta Forna Okey Ndibe NoViolet Bulawayo Chinelo Okparanta and others that I’ve read and loved There may be other changes as well Still there’s no taking away from the fact that Teju Cole writes magnificently I look forward to his next book of TRUE fiction

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Every Day is for the ThiefEars 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 profoun. Like Friend of My Youth which I read earlier this year Every Day Is for the Thief is autofiction seems like nonfiction but it supposedly isn't but might be anyway about a writer who returns to the homeland he left behind years before In both books the narrator spends his time revisiting places from his younger days reminiscing about an often sad past meeting up with old friends and despairing at all that has changed mostly as a result of capitalism As with Friend of My Youth it took me a while to really get into the pace and structure of this book but once I did I enjoyed this slice of life view of Lagos The tales of corruption were eual parts fascinating and depressing but what really interested me were the day to day stories of visits to museums and shops of nightly power outages of trips on public transportation This is the Lagos you likely won't see as a tourist; under the able guidance of Cole you get the insider's view