On 2 March 1908, nineteen-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, a Russian Jewish immigrant to Chicago, tried to deliver a letter to the home of the city's Chief of Police, George Shippy. Instead of taking the letter, Shippy shot Averbuch twice, killing him. Lazarus Averbuch, Shippy claimed, was an anarchist assassin and an agent of foreign operatives who wanted to bring the United States to its knees. His sister, Olga, was left alone and bereft in a city - and country - seething with political and ethnic tensions. In the twenty-first century, Brik, a young Bosnian writer in Chicago, becomes obsessed with finding out the truth of what happened to Lazarus. And so Brik and his friend Rora, a charming and unreliable photographer, set off on a journey back to Lazarus Averbuch's birthplace, through a history of pogroms and poverty and a present of gangsters and prostitutes.'Masterful ...troubling, funny and redemptive ...ingenious ...Hemon is as much a writer of the senses as of the intellect. He can be very funny: the novel is full of jokes and linguistic riffs that justify comparisons to Nabokov' - "Washington Post". 'The fearless and spirited expression of a turbulent literary talent ...For all Hemon's nods to other writers - one catches glimpses not only of Nabokov and Sebald but of Bulgakov, Pamuk, Amis, Poe - he is entirely his own man, an original who owes no debts to anyone' - Patrick McGrath, "Book Forum". 'Profoundly moving ...A literary page-turner that combines narrative momentum with meditations on identity and mortality' - Kirkus.
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Amazon Best of the Month, May 2008: America has a richer literary landscape since Aleksandar Hemon, stranded in the United States in 1992 after war broke out in his native Sarajevo, adopted Chicago as his new home. He completed his first short story within three years of learning to write in English, and since then his work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Paris Review and in two acclaimed books, The Question of Bruno and Nowhere Man. In The Lazarus Project, his most ambitious and imaginative work yet, Hemon brings to life an epic narrative born from a historical event: the 1908 killing of Lazarus Averbuch, a 19-year-old Jewish immigrant who was shot dead by George Shippy, the chief of Chicago police, after being admitted into his home to deliver an important letter. The mystery of what really happened that day remains unsolved (Shippy claimed Averbuch was an anarchist with ill intent) and from this opening set piece Hemon springs a century ahead to tell the story of Vladimir Brik, a Bosnian-American writer living in Chicago who gets funding to travel to Eastern Europe and unearth what really happened. The Lazarus Project deftly weaves the two stories together, cross-cutting the aftermath of Lazarus's death with Brik's journey and the tales from his traveling partner, Rora, a Bosnian war photographer. And while the novel will remind readers of many great books before it-- Ragtime, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Everything Is Illuminated--it is a masterful literary adventure that manages to be grand in scope and intimate in detail. It's an incredibly rewarding reading experience that's not to be missed. --Brad Thomas ParsonsAbout the Author:
Aleksandar Hemon???is the author of???The???Lazarus Project,???Love and Obstacles,???The Question of Bruno,???Nowhere Man???and???The Book of My???Lives. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur Genius Award, the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, the PEN/W. G. Sebald Award, and, most recently, a 2012 USA Fellowship. He lives in Chicago.
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