Known and Strange Things: A Brief Description of the Book

Known and Strange Things is a captivating collection of essays written by the acclaimed author Teju Cole. Published in 2016, this book delves into a wide range of subjects, from politics and culture to literature and photography. With his eloquent writing style, Cole eloquently explores the complexities of the modern world, weaving together personal anecdotes, literary analysis, and thought-provoking insights.

The Stories within the Book

In Known and Strange Things, Cole presents a diverse array of essays that collectively offer a unique and profound perspective on various aspects of life. The book is divided into three sections, each highlighting a different theme:

Section 1: “Reading Things”

This section of the book comprises essays that revolve around literature and the act of reading itself. Cole delves into the works of some renowned authors, such as W.G. Sebald and James Baldwin, providing engaging interpretations and interpretations of their writings. Through his contemplative essays, Cole explores the profound impact literature can have on individuals and society.

Section 2: “Seeing Things”

The second section, “Seeing Things,” delves into the world of photography and visual arts. Cole reflects on the power of images to shape narratives and the cultural implications of visual representation. He offers insightful commentary on seminal photographers like Walker Evans and Roy DeCarava, analyzing their work in relation to social issues such as race, memory, and identity.

Section 3: “Being There”

In the final section, “Being There,” Cole explores his personal experiences and encounters with different cultures and places. He shares his perspectives on visiting various countries, including Nigeria, Brazil, and the United States, shedding light on the intricate nuances of identity, politics, and globalization. With his astute observations, Cole allows readers to embark on a virtual journey alongside him, highlighting both the known and strange aspects of the world.

Awards, Reviews, and Praise

Known and Strange Things has received widespread critical acclaim since its release. The book has been celebrated for its thoughtfulness, intellectual rigor, and profound insights. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism in 2016, further cementing its status as a significant literary work.

Many renowned critics and authors have praised Cole’s collection of essays. The New York Times Book Review lauded Cole as “one of the most vibrant voices in contemporary writing,” while The Guardian described the book as “a true testament to the power of essays.” Known and Strange Things has resonated with readers worldwide, sparking meaningful conversations and establishing Cole as a leading intellectual voice of our time.

In conclusion, Known and Strange Things is an extraordinary collection of essays that delves into the complexities of the modern world. Through introspection, analysis, and evocative prose, Teju Cole invites readers to explore literature, photography, and the complexities of human existence. With its accolades and critical acclaim, this book is an unmissable literary treasure for individuals interested in exploring the power of written words, visual art, and diverse cultures.

Scroll to Top