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Aleksandar Hemon, author of The Question of Bruno, one of the most celebrated debuts in recent American fiction, returns with the mind- and language-bending adventures of his endearing protagonist Jozef Pronek.
This is what we know about Jozef Pronek: He is a young man from Sarajevo who left to visit the United States in 1992, just in time to watch war break out at home on TV. Stranded in the relative comfort of Chicago, he proves himself a charming and frankly perceptive observer of – and participant in – American life. With Nowhere Man, Pronek, accidental urban nomad, gets his own book.
Aleksandar Hemon lovingly crafts Pronek into a character who is sure to become an enduring literary icon. From the grand causes of his adolescence – principally, fighting to change the face of rock and roll and, hilariously, struggling to lose his virginity – up through a fleeting encounter with George Bush (the first) in Kiev, to enrollment in a Chicago ESL class and the glorious adventures of minimum-wage living, Pronek’s experiences are at once touchingly familiar and bracingly out-of-the-ordinary.
But the story of his life is not so simple as a series of global adventures. Pronek is continually haunted by an unseen observer, his movements chronicled by narrators with dubious motives–all of which culminates in a final episode that upends many of our assumptions about Pronek’s identity, while illustrating precisely what it means to be a Nowhere Man.
With all the literary verve of The Question of Bruno, but with an engrossing narrative, engaging warmth, and refreshing humor, Nowhere Man brings to life a protagonist whose very way of looking at and living in the world provokes an exhilarating sense of seeing everything new again. And all the while, the inspired freshness of the prose reminds the reader why Aleksandar Hemon earned such extraordinary recognition after just one book.
"An unusual structure, along with a striking pictorial and metaphoric imagination, offers distinctive literary pleasures in this genuinely original first novel....Think of the gifted Hemon as a kinder and gentler--and infinitely funnier--Jerzy Kosinski."
"Hemon's observations are rarely off target, and language remains his dearest friend....Hemon can't write a boring sentence, and the English language (which he adopted at a late age) is the richer for it....NOWHERE MAN succeeds more often than it fails and will very likely serve as a springboard for even greater feats of the imagination from Aleksandar Hemon."
Gary Shteyngart, New York Times Book Review, 09/15/2002
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