A powerful, intimate novel that masterfully explores what constitutes a meaningful life in a violent world—from the award-winning author of Open City
“A remarkable performance from one of the most brilliant and singular minds at work today.”—Katie Kitamura, author of Intimacies
Life is hopeless but it is not serious. We have to have danced while we could and, later, to have danced again in the telling.
A weekend spent antiquing is shadowed by the colonial atrocities that occurred on that land. A walk at dusk is interrupted by casual racism. A loving marriage is riven by mysterious tensions. And a remarkable cascade of voices speaks out from a pulsing metropolis.
We’re invited to experience these events and others through the eyes and ears of Tunde, a West African man working as a teacher of photography on a renowned New England campus. He is a reader, a listener, a traveler, drawn to many different kinds of stories: stories from history and epic; stories of friends, family, and strangers; stories found in books and films. Together these stories make up his days. In aggregate these days comprise a life.
Tremor is a startling work of realism and invention that engages brilliantly with literature, music, race, and history as it examines the passage of time and how we mark it. It is a reckoning with human survival amidst “history’s own brutality, which refuses symmetries and seldom consoles,” but it is also a testament to the possibility of joy. As he did in his magnificent debut Open City, Teju Cole once again offers narration with all its senses alert, a surprising and deeply essential work from a beacon of contemporary literature.
About the Author
Teju Cole was born in the United States in 1975 to Nigerian parents and grew up in Lagos. His books include the novel Open City, the essay collections Known and Strange Things and Black Paper, and the experimental photo book Blind Spot. He has been honored with the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis, the Windham-Campbell Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other accolades. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Cole is currently a professor of the practice of creative writing at Harvard University and a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine.
Praise for Tremor
“A master class in the morality of art . . . a novel of ideas but also of voices, of different perspectives claiming the first-person narrative I. The precision of detail stresses the importance of seeing, but identity, perspective, and context determine who is seeing what. . . . A provocative and profound meditation on art and life in a world of terror.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Reading Cole’s books is like spending time with a smart friend. He’s interested in the planet and people’s place on it, and his writings are entry points into conversations about identity, culture, and what it means to be human. [Cole’s] remarkable and experimental latest . . . begins like autofiction [before taking] a thrilling point-of-view swerve. . . . It’s a splendid feast for the senses.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Lyrical and beautiful.”—Booklist
Praise for the work of Teju Cole
“An intimate novel about destabilization and catastrophe, Tremor roves freely across time, form, geography. Supple and sinuous, it is a dazzling performance from one of the most brilliant and singular minds at work today.”—Katie Kitamura, author of Intimacies
“Teju Cole’s writing always amazes me—its beauty, intimacy, complexity, and clarity. Tremor is a quietly dazzling book. With vitality and poise, it offers a new view of what is concealed in the narration of histories, the composition of a photograph, the fragrance in a bar of soap, the existential fury of a vendor selling trinkets to tourists.”—Deborah Levy, author of The Cost of Living
“[Teju Cole’s] novels are lean, expertly sustained performances. The places he can go, you feel, are just about limitless.”—The New York Times
“The house of literature [that Cole] is busy creating is an in-between space with fluid dimensions, resisting entrenchment.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“There’s almost no subject Cole can’t come at from a startling angle.”—The Boston Globe
“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
“A Teju Cole novel is a reading experience matched by few contemporary writers.”—Flavorwire