Open City by Teju Cole

Open City

Teju Cole

I had to keep reminding myself this was fiction and not a diary. If you want action and excitement go elsewhere but you won't find a better, truer account of life in modern times. I walked New York with Julius and felt I came to know him but then suddenly I didn't.


The sight of large masses of people hurrying down into underground chambers was perpetually strange to me, and I felt that all of the human race were rushing, pushed by a counterinstinctive death drive, into movable catacombs. Above-ground I was with thousands of others in their solitude, but in the subway, standing close to strangers, jostling them and being jostled by them for space and breathing room, all of us reenacting unacknowledged traumas, the solitude intensified.

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