"What we see is an individual taking stock of their surroundings, a mode that Cole has mastered. To read this book is to enjoy the generosity of his thought, to be invited into a contemplation of your inner life, to embrace the complexity of others, and to see in the darkness not only despair but also understanding and even refuge.”
— Simukai Chigudu
“This collection of Cole’s feels rawer and more personal than those that have come before—Blind Spot and Known and Strange Things—layering as it does his art essays with homages to lost friends and analysis of his own 2012 novel, Open City. . . . The feeling of sadness that obviously motivated the [newest] essays, the feeling of being weighed down by all one is called to see—the phrase is bearing witness, after all—is made lighter by the example of other artists, the potential for joy in sensing all the world is."
— New Republic
"The celebrated author of Open City
explores the ways we retain our humanity and different ways of thinking about the colour black."
"From scrutiny of a colonial-era photograph in 'Restoring Darkness' to 'Experience,' in which he considers human senses and our cultural understandings, Cole's engaging collection of essays reassembles the visual kaleidoscope of life now in sharp, exacting prose. Cole should be seen and attentively read."
“In this erudite collection of observations written over the past three years, art historian Cole meditates on art, identity, politics, and literature to decipher ‘the fractured moment in our history.’ . . . Offering a window into his articulate worldview, Cole brings into sharp relief the very humanity he seeks.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Dense and provocative, the essays in Black Paper are a reminder that darkness cannot last forever, and even within it, there is meaning and hope.”
“[Teju Cole is] an emissary for our best selves. He is sampling himself for our benefit, hoping for enlightenment, and seeking to provide pleasure to us through his art. May his realm expand.”
— Norman Rush, New York Review of Books, on Known and Strange Things
“The places he can go, you feel, are just about limitless.”
— Dwight Garner, New York Times, on Every Day Is for the Thief
“He takes in news from African countries and American cities; but also, by necessity and interest, Asian, European and Latin American culture and history. In short, the world belongs to Cole and is thornily and gloriously allied with his curiosity and his personhood.”
— Claudia Rankine, New York Times Book Review, on Known and Strange Things
“The forms of resistance depend on the culture they resist, and in our era of generalizations and approximations and sloppiness, Teju Cole’s precise and vivid observation and description is an antidote and a joy. This is a book written with a scalpel, a microscope, and walking shoes, full of telling details and sometimes big surprises.”
— Rebecca Solnit, on Known and Strange Things
"Cole’s erudition, eclecticism, and empathy are remarkable, but it is his capacity for lyrical writing that stays with the reader and marks him out as one of the most significant cultural figures of our times."