For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Michael Ondaatje, Every Day Is for the Thief is a wholly original work of fiction by Teju Cole, whose critically acclaimed debut, Open City, was the winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named one of the best books… (more)
For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Michael Ondaatje, Every Day Is for the Thief is a wholly original work of fiction by Teju Cole, whose critically acclaimed debut, Open City, was the winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than twenty publications.
Fifteen years is a long time to be away from home. It feels longer still because I left under a cloud.
A young Nigerian living in New York City goes home to Lagos for a short visit, finding a city both familiar and strange. In a city dense with story, the unnamed narrator moves through a mosaic of life, hoping to find inspiration for his own. He witnesses the “yahoo yahoo” diligently perpetrating email frauds from an Internet café, longs after a mysterious woman reading on a public bus who disembarks and disappears into a bookless crowd, and recalls the tragic fate of an eleven-year-old boy accused of stealing at a local market.
Along the way, the man reconnects with old friends, a former girlfriend, and extended family, taps into the energies of Lagos life—creative, malevolent, ambiguous—and slowly begins to reconcile the profound changes that have taken place in his country and the truth about himself.
In spare, precise prose that sees humanity everywhere, interwoven with original photos by the author, Every Day Is for the Thief—originally published in Nigeria in 2007—is a wholly original work of fiction. This revised and updated edition is the first version of this unique book to be made available outside Africa. You’ve never read a book like Every Day Is for the Thief because no one writes like Teju Cole.
Praise for Every Day Is for the Thief
“A luminous rumination on storytelling and place, exile and return . . . extraordinary.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“[Teju] Cole is following in a long tradition of writerly walkers who, in the tradition of Baudelaire, make their way through urban spaces on foot and take their time doing so. Like Alfred Kazin, Joseph Mitchell, J. M. Coetzee, and W. G. Sebald (with whom he is often compared), Cole adds to the literature in his own zeitgeisty fashion.”—The Boston Globe
“Crisp, affecting . . . Cole constructs a narrative of fragments, a series of episodes that he allows to resonate.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Shimmering . . . transcendent.”—The Seattle Times
“Wonderful . . . a book that never fails to find a thoughtful and essential thing to say.”—Los Angeles Times
“Fearless, nimble, and surprising.”—The Daily Beast
“A Teju Cole novel is a reading experience matched by few contemporary writers.”—Flavorwire
“By turns funny, mournful, and acerbic . . . Teju Cole is among the most gifted writers of his generation.”—Salman Rushdie
“Every Day Is for the Thief is a vivid, episodic evocation of the truism that you can’t go home again; but that doesn’t mean you’re not free to try.”—Billy Collins
From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Random House (March 25, 2014)
Page count: 160 pages
File size: 4.6 MB
Every Day Is for the Thief is direct and bracing, a short, sharp counterpunch to those who seek to romanticise Africa.NPR : In 'Every Day Is For The Thief,' Cole Chronicles A City's Reality (April 26, 2014)
Although he classifies his book as "fiction," it contains less of the human heat and emotional tangles of most novels, and more of the cool-eyed reporting and knowing observation that you might find in the most cerebral travel writing.Financial Times : ‘Every Day is for the Thief’, by Teju Cole (April 25, 2014)
There is the sharp imagery, the attention to detail, the indifference to plot. Listen to the evocative voice, the gorgeous prose, look how he is very much his father’s son.View editorial reviews