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Teju Cole’s Every Day is for the Thief is a Book to Look Forward to in 2014

Every Day is for the ThiefNigerian-American author Teju Cole received much acclaim for his novel Open City, published in 2012. This year, Every Day is for the Thief, “a wholly original amalgamation of fiction, memory, art, and travel writing” by Cole will be released internationally and is already being hailed as a book to look forward to in 2014.

The book was originally published in Nigeria in 2007, but the latest release will be an updated and revised edition. Random House will publish it in March.

Every Day is for the Thief deals with the return of a young Nigerian living in New York City to Lagos in Nigeria, and no doubt draws on Cole’s own experience of these two spheres. It has received praise from Salman Rushdie, Billy Collins and Chris Abani. And CNN and Bookmunch have listed it as a must-read.

From the blurb

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 is a wholly original amalgamation of fiction, memory, art, and travel writing. Originally published in Nigeria in 2007, this revised and updated edition is the first time this unique book has been available outside Africa. You’ve never read a book like Every Day Is for the Thief because no one writes like Teju Cole.


I wake up late the morning I’m meant to go to the Consulate. As I gather my documents just before setting out, I call the hospital to remind them I won’t be in until the afternoon. Then I join the other zombies on the subway and make my way over to Second Avenue and, without much trouble, find the Consulate. It occupies several floors of a skyscraper. A windowless room on the eighth floor serves as the section for consular services. Most of the people there on the Monday morning of my visit are Nigerians, almost all of them middle-aged. The med are bald, the women elaborately coiffed, and there are twice as mnay men as there are women. But there are also unexpected faces: a tall Italian-looking man, a girl of East Asian origin, other Africans. Each person takes a number from a red machine as they enter the dingy room. The carpet is dirty, of the indeterminate colour shared by all carpets in public places. A wall-mounted television plays a news programme through a have of static. The news continues for a short while, then there is broadcast of a football match between Enyimba and a Tunisian club. The people in the room fill out forms.

Every Day is for the Thief is among CNN’s 18 books to watch for in 2014:

Bookmunch listed Cole’s forthcoming offering under the 50 books they’re looking forward to this year:

Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole – Cole follows up his highly acclaimed Open City with this novella, which concerns a man who decides to visit Nigeria after years of absence. We are promised ‘a striking portrait’ of a country in change…

Book details


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