by Teju Cole
Books > Fiction
Tunde, the man at the centre of this novel, reflects on the places and times of his life, from his West African upbringing to his current work as a teacher of photography on a renowned New England campus. He is a reader, a listener and a traveller drawn to many different kinds of stories: tales from history and the epic; accounts of friends, family and strangers; narratives found in books and films. One man’s personal lens refracts entire worlds, and back again. A weekend spent shopping for antiques 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.
Tremor is a startling work of realism and invention that 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. This is narration with all its senses alert, a surprising and deeply essential work from a beacon of contemporary literature.