Known and Strange Things

Known and Strange Things

Essays

eBook - 2016
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A blazingly intelligent first book of essays from the award-winning author of Open City and Every Day Is for the Thief 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. Advance praise for Known and Strange Things "A bold, honest, and controversially necessary read." Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "[Teju] Cole is a literary performance artist, his words meticulously chosen and deployed with elegance and force. To read, see, and travel with him is to be changed by the questions that challenge him." Publishers Weekly "The forms of resistance depend on the culture they resist, and in our era of generalizations and approximations and sloppiness, Teju Cole's precise and vivid observation and description are an antidote and a joy. This is a book written with a scalpel, a microscope, and walking shoes, full of telling details and sometimes big surprises." Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me "Absolutely wonderful . . . Teju Cole is so erudite, so laser sharp, that his intelligence shimmers, but best of all, his personality shines through as being kind and generous. I found myself transported and moved deeply." Petina Gappah, author of The Book of Memory From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2016.
ISBN: 9780812989793
0812989791
Characteristics: 1 online resource.

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l
lostintheshelves
Sep 20, 2016

The victim, by continuing to suffer, irritates the oppressor, who would rather be already past it.

l
lostintheshelves
Sep 18, 2016

Authorship, after all, is not only what is created, but what is selected.

l
lostintheshelves
Sep 18, 2016

Google is incessantly productive and very enthusiastic about itself. The company's bright-eyed but curiously unreassuring motto is "Don't Be Evil."

l
lostintheshelves
Sep 18, 2016

Few things are more mysterious than someone else's favorite film. To hear it named is to be puzzled. You appreciate its merits but not how it can be preferable to all others. Perhaps your favorite film isn't the one that you like best but the one that likes you best. It confirms you on first encounter, and goes onto shape you in some irreversible way. Often, you first see it when you're young, but not too young, and on each subsequent viewing it is a home to which you return.

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u
uncommonreader
Sep 11, 2017

A collection of essays, mostly previously published in "The New Yorker". For me, the essays on photography were least interesting, with many references to obscure artists. Many essays were interesting, but some of the writing is pretentious.

s
sarahc3319
Mar 27, 2017

Unbelievably good-- so diverse, smart, curious, and just plain interesting. I returned the book to the library and immediately bought a copy for my home library. I imagine I will reach for it-- and reread-- often.

l
lostintheshelves
Sep 20, 2016

This is a stunning collection of essays, erudite and full of unexpected connections. It's grouped in three sections, on literature; photography; and travel, place and politics. Personally I found the essays on literature and race the most engrossing, but I'm glad someone is thinking so deeply on how social media is changing photography. Every piece is deeply felt and elegantly written, but standouts include "Black Body" ( a meditation on James Baldwin), "A True Picture of Black Skin," "Brazilian Earth," and "Angels in Winter" (on Rome and Italy). Highly recommended, especially for those who loved Rebecca Solnit's The Faraway Nearby.

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