Coupon
Known and Strange Things : Essays
by Teju Cole


Overview - A blazingly intelligent first book of essays from the award-winning author of Open City and Every Day Is for the Thief

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Time - The Guardian - Harper's Bazaar - San Francisco Chronicle - The Atlantic - Financial Times - Kirkus

Finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay and PEN/Jean Stein Book Award

With this collection of more than fifty pieces on politics, photography, travel, history, and literature, Teju Cole solidifies his place as one of today's most powerful and original voices.  Read more...


 
In Stock.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
 
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

 
 
New & Used Marketplace 39 copies from $3.99
 
 
 

More About Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole
 
 
 
Overview
A blazingly intelligent first book of essays from the award-winning author of Open City and Every Day Is for the Thief

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Time - The Guardian - Harper's Bazaar - San Francisco Chronicle - The Atlantic - Financial Times - Kirkus

Finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay and PEN/Jean Stein Book Award

With this collection of more than fifty pieces on politics, photography, travel, history, and literature, Teju Cole solidifies his place as one of today's most powerful and original voices. On page after page, deploying prose dense with beauty and ideas, he finds fresh and potent ways to interpret art, people, and historical moments, taking in subjects from Virginia Woolf, Shakespeare, and W. G. Sebald to Instagram, Barack Obama, and Boko Haram. Cole brings us new considerations of James Baldwin in the age of Black Lives Matter; the African American photographer Roy DeCarava, who, forced to shoot with film calibrated exclusively for white skin tones, found his way to a startling and true depiction of black subjects; and (in an essay that inspired both praise and pushback when it first appeared) the White Savior Industrial Complex, the system by which African nations are sentimentally aided by an America "developed on pillage."

Persuasive and provocative, erudite yet accessible, Known and Strange Things is an opportunity to live within Teju Cole's wide-ranging enthusiasms, curiosities, and passions, and a chance to see the world in surprising and affecting new frames.

Praise for Known and Strange Things

"On every level of engagement and critique, Known and Strange Things is an essential and scintillating journey."--Claudia Rankine, The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

"A heady mix of wit, nostalgia, pathos, and a genuine desire to untangle the world, or at the least, to bask in its unending riddles."--The Atlantic

"Brilliant . . . Known and Strange Things] reveals Cole's extraordinary talent and his capacious mind."--Time

" Known and Strange Things] showcases the magnificent breadth of subjects Cole] is able to plumb with . . . passion and eloquence."--Harper's Bazaar

" Cole is] one of the most vibrant voices in contemporary writing."--LA Times

"Cole has fulfilled the dazzling promise of his novels Every Day Is for the Thief and Open City. He ranges over his interests with voracious keenness, laser-sharp prose, an open heart and a clear eye."--The Guardian

"Remarkably probing essays . . . Cole is one of only a very few lavishing his focused attention on that most approachable (and perhaps therefore most overlooked) art form, photography."--Chicago Tribune

"There's almost no subject Cole can't come at from a startling angle. . . . His is a] prickly, eclectic, roaming mind."--The Boston Globe

" Cole] brings a subtle, layered perspective to all he encounters."--Vanity Fair

"In page after page, Cole upholds the sterling virtue of good writing combined with emotional and intellectual engagement."--The New Statesman

" Known and Strange Things possesses] a passion for justice, a deep sympathy for the poor and the powerless around the world, and a fiery moral outrage."--Poets and Writers

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780812989786
  • ISBN-10: 0812989783
  • Publisher: Random House Trade
  • Publish Date: August 2016
  • Page Count: 416
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Literary Collections > Essays
Books > Literary Collections > American - African American
Books > Political Science > Essays

 
BookPage Reviews

A beloved author on reading, seeing and being

“Salinger’s Holden Caulfield made a distinction between writers you would like to call on the phone and those you wouldn’t care to talk to at all. Teju Cole belongs to the former group.”

Those words were written by the author Aleksandar Hemon, and they’re proven true by Known and Strange Things, Teju Cole’s companionable new essay collection. Again and again in this gathering of more than 40 pieces, Cole demonstrates an appealing blend of erudition and affability—a quality that makes him unique as an essayist.

The author of the award-winning novel Open City, Cole was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. He returned to the states for college, focusing on art history and photography. Both subjects figure prominently in these essays, which are organized into three categories: “Reading Things,” “Seeing Things” and “Being There.” 

In the wistful “Far Away from Here,” Cole considers themes of home and dislocation during a visit to Switzerland, where he photographs the landscape in a process he describes as “thinking with my eyes about the country around me.” In unflinching essays like “Black Body” and “The White Savior Industrial Complex,” he examines contemporary perceptions of race, invoking the work of James Baldwin along the way. 

An understated and lyrical stylist, Cole combines the rigor of a critic with the curiosity of Everyman. “We are creatures of private conventions,” he writes. “But we are also looking for ways to enlarge our coasts.” This collection provides a way.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews