From the Publisher
"A masterful new novel. . . Ingenious. . .Hemon is as much a writer of the senses as of the intellect."
-Washington Post Book Review
"Incandescent. When your eyes close, the power of this novel, of Hemon's colossal talent, remains."
-Junot Dfaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
"Hemon is immensely talented-a natural storyteller and a poet, a maker of amazing, gorgeous sentences in what is his second language."
-Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Remarkable, and remarkably entertaining." -The New York Times Book Review "A physical, historical, and pre-eminently psychological journey."
-San Francisco Chronicle
"Stunning...[a] vivid novel...wildly palpably real."
"A measured, clear spotlight of injustice, made all the more eloquent by the prickly humor of the author."
-Los Angeles Times
"Hemon's writing sometimes reminds one of Nabokov's...yet the feat of his reinvention exceeds the Russian's."
-James Wood, The New Yorker
"A profoundly moving novel...A literary page-turner that combines narrative momentum with meditations on identity and mortality."
MacArthur genius Hemon in his third book (after Nowhere Man) intelligently unpacks 100 years' worth of immigrant disillusion, displacement and desperation. As fears of the anarchist movement roil 1908 Chicago, the chief of police guns down Lazarus Averbuch, an eastern European immigrant Jew who showed up at the chief's doorstep to deliver a note. Almost a century later, Bosnian-American writer Vladimir Brik secures a coveted grant and begins working on a book about Lazarus; his research takes him and fellow Bosnian Rora, a fast-talking photographer whose photos appear throughout the novel, on a twisted tour of eastern Europe (there are brothel-hotels, bouts of violence, gallons of coffee and many fabulist stories from Rora) that ends up being more a journey into their own pasts than a fact-finding mission. Sharing equal narrative duty is the story of Olga Averbuch, Lazarus's sister, who, hounded by the police and the press (the Tribunereporter is especially vile), is faced with another shock: the disappearance of her brother's body from his potter's grave. (His name, after all, was Lazarus.) Hemon's workmanlike prose underscores his piercing wit, and between the murders that bookend the novel, there's pathos and outrage enough to chip away at even the hardest of hearts. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
After two short story collections (The Question of Bruno; Nowhere Man), MacArthur Award recipient Hemon brings us a novel worth reading with as much fire as its composition must have demanded. The New York Timesrightfully calls Hemon "not simply gifted but necessary." Reading Hemon's image-viscous prose is like anxiously wading through dark emotion. It's the story of Brik, who fled to Chicago from Sarajevo during war, married a neurosurgeon, and became a writer. Obsessed with the story of Lazarus Averbuch-an Eastern European immigrant who was murdered in 1908 in Chicago, five years after escaping the pogroms-Brik returns with photographer friend Rora to Eastern Europe to immerse himself in his and Lazarus's old lives. Through Rora's stories of wartime Sarajevo and glimpses of Brik's life, we understand their outsider anguish in America. Also, through flashbacks of Lazarus's death, Hemon reveals the other mystery. This story could be compared with Jonathan Safran-Foer's Everything Is Illuminatedin that it's one character's Eastern European search for enlightenment. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/08.]