Teju Cole with Tara K. Menon

Teju Cole with Tara K. Menon

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith for an in-store event with Teju Cole to discuss and celebrate the release of TremorHe will be in conversation with scholar and writer Tara K. Menon.

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.

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. Photo credit: Teju Cole.

Moderator Tara K. Menon was born in India and raised in Singapore. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Harvard University where she teaches classes on cities, political literature, and the nineteenth-century novel. From 2019-2023, she was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Her first academic book (about speech and character in the 19th century novel) is under contract with Princeton University Press. Her essays and criticism have appeared in publications including The New York Times Book ReviewThe NationThe Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Paris Review, and Public Books where she co-edits the Literary Fiction section. Photo credit: Lauren Crothers