Teju Cole’s Open City
Ever since reading Teju Cole’s Open City, I’ve been waiting to find a copy of Every Day Is for the Thief, originally published in Nigeria in 2007. Re-released in 2014, Thief doesn’t read like a novel. It’s instead a series of vignettes, a group of stories that would feel comfortable serialized in a travel magazine, all piloted by an unnamed narrator, returning to Lagos after living in the States. Throughout, Cole seamlessly weaves Nigeria’s history into his narrative, reflecting on why thievery in its myriad forms is so ingrained in the country’s culture. The narrator feels rage, disgust, anger, and irritation at his country. Yet with all the corruption, barbarity, and ignorance that characterize Lagos, the narrator still has hope for his homeland, that it can still reach its full potential as a city and a nation. While the narrator may feel like a stranger in his homeland after being away so long, in the future, there is hope.