TEJU COLE: Every Day Is For The Thief

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Title: Every Day Is For The Thief

Genre: Fiction

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9579-4

Publication Date: 2007

Publisher: Cassava Republic Press

Format: Ebook

Language: English

Every day is for the thief is a fiction novel by Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole and was published in 2007.The book centers on a young man’s experiences in Lagos after 15 years in New York.Things are really different from what he left behind.

In this book Teju Cole explores the themes of inequality, corruption, religion, poverty, the struggle for survival, the Lagos spirit among others.  He also dissects Nigerians their values and hopes.

I appreciate the author’s take on arts in Nigeria and agree the arts have become sort of an elitist thing considering the economy.

“…If you want to learn cello, you must own a cello….They have set the bar quite high In Nigeria, it is prohibitively expensive for all but the most moneyed”

I also identified with his perspective on the religious nature of Nigerians.

 “I mean I don’t say things like I have malaria the tongue is very powerful you know…..”

“The idea that saying it makes it so”

This conversation was really hilarious.

I particularly found his perspective on the absence of any reminder that Lagos was a former slave trade route rather interesting. Defending his opinion he quotes Faulkner;

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past”

To the author Lagos being a former slave trade route is a great piece of history that sadly has been forgotten

“..In Lagos we sleep dreamlessly, the sleep of innocents”

I love how Teju weaves his writing with photography as the novel has a total of 19 pictures which gives it an eerie feel. I always knew grainy pictures could tell tales.


I recommend every day is for the thief to everyone. It captures present day Nigeria despite being written in 2007. Funny we never know the young man’s name.

For more of Teju Cole’s writings and photography click here.


What Nigerian authors have you been reading?