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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Everyday For is For The Thief

This book I hear started as a blog, it must be the best blog I never read. The author Teju Cole has an incredible gift of observation,description and eventual expression without judgement or pretension.

In story after story he deftly lifts you up and slams you down in an unwaveringly accurate mutation of the realities of our existence. Not since Frank McCourts' first timer Pulitzer winning book Angela's Ashes have I read stories whose esu odaraic (Yoruba deity) character makes you want to laugh and cry simultaneously written in simple, powerful discerningly honest prose. I read everyday without pausing for breath and emerged satiated that someone has written a book that accurately reflects the tragedy and triumphs of Lagos, a mean task if you know how complex this city is. As Cole noted, the paradox of Lagos is that in her unusual realities, she is a deep dense forest of creative resource for the writer or any other art form but the brutality of her being robs the creative of the energy to tap into this huge mainly virgin forest. Teju Cole's ability to stand in the midst of it, absorb it, process it and regurgitate it is truly admirable and a must read.

Lagos always reminds me of that cheesy collaboration between the late Pavarotti and Celine Dion. My favourite lines are "I try to run away from you but if l were to leave you l would die". There is a certain futility in trying to completely remove one's Nigerian soul wherever one may live, those who have most succeeded that l have seen always have a zomboid nothingness to them. The other line is the chorus, "I love you then I hate you then I love you then I hate you then I love you more".

This Teju Cole succinctly expresses at the end of the story on the national museum and the muson centre both at Onikan. "Each time l am sure that in returning to Lagos I have inadvertently wandered into a region of hell, something else emerges to give me hope. A reader, an orchestra, the friendship of some powerful swimmers against the tide". One of my stabilizing factors is the fact that l make it my business to know, befriend and document some of those swimmers against the tide and so for the next three days l will tell you stories of some of them. In the mean time, buy, steal, beg or borrow and read EVERYDAY IS FOR THE THIEF. Ask Jeremy and Bibi (naijablog) how to get it.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe what I am reading. Teju Cole is going to come out in book form. Wow!! how can I get hold of it? I didn't know the blog was going to become a book. I downloaded the blog and often go back to reread it. He is an incredible voice. It is at times like this that I wish Iwas a journalist.

Once again funmi thanks for bringing this to my attention. I went to Jeremy's blog and there is no mention about it.

Jeremy said...

Glad you liked it Funmi. We're really excited about having unearthed a new talent - and making the book available in Nigeria before anywhere else.

The book will be out in November..

Sherri said...

Happy blogversary!
your poignant reflections are inspiring.u show the likes of me the possibilities despite the odds.
for that, i thank u

i now realize that the principle is the same regardless of where one finds oneself, "sink or swim"
low tide, high tide.

Funmi Iyanda said...

@ jeremy, you must introduce me to mr cole o, l volunteer to relentlessly help promote his book, he has immense talent.

@sherri, eri mi wu:-)!

Anonymous said...

Just finished reading Purple Hibiscus and on half of a yellow sun(better late than never). And was very tripped of how the author could so vividly describe the setting in the East. Can only imagine how Mr. Cole will do justice to the Almighty Lagos- in all its complexities and energy.
Wold read it in November- for Sure