So Teju Cole came to Nairobi in a blaze of glory last year in the Storymoja Hay Festival. He came to these shores on the back of the Faber & Faber published Open City. The book is about a psychotic rapist Nigerian/German walking around New York and giving his strange view of the world.
The writer’s latest title Every day is for the thief is on the way. It was initially published by Cassava Republic in 2007 and will be coming back as an enhanced version when it comes out later in the year. In this book, a young man decides to visit Nigeria after years of absence. It is described as a “series of cinematic portraits of everyday life in Lagos, Teju Cole provides a fresh approach to the returnee experience.”
You can read an excerpt of the book at the Chimurenga Chronic where you get such gems as;
“He was 11 years old. He snatched a bag from inside the market, six weeks ago. I know the rest, even before I’m told: I’ve seen it before. At least, I’ve seen it in its constituent parts, if never all at once. I watched in fragments and was unimpressed, as children are, by whatever seems to them to be normal. I was still a child when I learned to stitch the various vignettes into a single story. The desperate grab, the cries of thief – an ordinary cry anywhere else, but in a Lagos market, it thins the blood out with fear – the cry taken up by those who never saw the original grab, but who nevertheless believe in its motivating power. It was like the day I was at the garri stall with my mother, when I could have been no more than seven. Cries of thief, thief. Then the chase that arises organically and with frightening swiftness out of the placid texture of the market, a furious wave of men that organises itself into a single living thing. And then the capture of the felon – there is nowhere to run – his denials and, when those inevitably fail, his pleas. He doesn’t get far into the pleas before he is pushed – all this I’ve seen, more than once – kicked, beaten with what never looks like less than personal aggravation. The violence is intimate, interspersed with curses. The stolen purse has, by now, made its way back into the hands of madam, and she has cleared out of the scene. If nothing was stolen, nothing is returned, but the event must run its course.”
As I read this excerpt all I could think was; “Please God let this one have a plot.”