Tremor: A Novel (Hardcover)
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
An “extraordinary, ambitious” (The Times UK) novel that masterfully explores what constitutes a meaningful life in a violent world—from the award-winning author of Open City
New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • “Cole’s mind is so agile that it’s easy to follow him anywhere.”—The New Yorker
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD • A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Time, The Washington Post, Financial Times, Vulture, Chicago Public Library, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal
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.
“In . . . Tremor, all of Teju Cole’s capacities are present. . . . The reader [is] first seduced by Cole’s mastery of anecdote before being immersed in rich, sometimes discomfiting ideas.”—The New York Times
“Cole exposes the stain of history and the constant presence of racism, fear and violence in Tunde’s daily life, raising questions about the role these things play in our art and, more specifically, in the novel. Tremor is a commentary on—or perhaps an answer to—the criticism that autofiction often focuses on upper-class white people.”—Los Angeles Times
“Poignant and playfully polyphonic.”—Financial Times
“This extraordinary, ambitious novel . . . breaks new ground.”—The Times
“[Tremor] is a high-wire act, beating its own, defiant path through the weightless air.”—The Nation
“Exaggerated rumors about the death of the novel have been spreading for at least a century, but I’m not concerned about its imminent demise. . . . Anyone who doubts how effectively this elderly literary genre might survive and evolve to reflect an impossibly complicated world would do well to read Teju Cole’s involute new book, Tremor. . . . Cole continues to demonstrate just how elastic a novel can be and how trenchant he is. . . . Tenaciously alive.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“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
“A masterful novel by one of America’s finest writers . . . Cole is not just offering us a novel about art, migration, or marginalisation, rather a new politics of seeing, reading and thinking.”—The Daily Telegraph
“A provocative and profound meditation on art and life in a world of terror.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Dazzling . . . a thrilling and important work.”—BookPage (starred review)
“[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