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The Lazarus Projectby Aleksandar Hemon
The Lazarus Project, Hemon's latest novel, is about storytelling, the nature of memory and reality, and America's relationship to the rest of the world, both past and present. It's blackly funny, crackling with intelligence, and populated by realistic, fascinating characters.
Synopses & Reviews
In two collections of stories, The Question of Bruno and the NBCC-finalist Nowhere Man, Aleksandar Hemon has earned unmatched literary acclaim and a reputation as one of the English languageas most original and moving wordsmiths. In The Lazarus Project, Hemon has turned these talents to an embracing novel that intertwines haunting historical atmosphere and detail with sharp and shimmeringasometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreakingacontemporary storytelling.
On March 2, 1908, nineteen-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, a recent Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe to Chicago, knocked on the front door of the house of George Shippy, the chief of Chicago police. When Shippy came to the door, Averbuch offered him what he said was an important letter. Instead of taking the letter, Shippy shot Averbuch twice, killing him. When Shippy released a statement casting Averbuch as a would-be anarchist assassin and agent of foreign political operatives, he all but set off a city and a country already simmering with ethnic and political tensions.
Now, in the twenty-first century, a young writer in Chicago, Brik, also from Eastern Europe, becomes obsessed with Lazarusas storyawhat really happened, and why? In order to understand Averbuch, Brik and his friend Roraawho overflows with stories of his life as a Sarajevo war photographeraretrace Averbuchas path across Eastern Europe, through a history of pogroms and poverty, and through a present-day landscape of cheap mafiosi and cheaper prostitutes. The stories of Averbuch and Brik become inextricably entwined, augmented by the photographs that Rora takes on their journey, creating a truly original, provocative, and entertaining novel that willconfirm Hemon once and for all as one of the most dynamic and essential literary voices of our time.
"A profoundly moving novel... A literary page-turner that combines narrative momentum with meditations on identity and mortality. Kirkus Reviews
"Hemon's writing sometimes reminds one of Nabokovs... yet the feat of his reinvention exceeds the Russian's." James Wood, The New Yorker
"Remarkable, and remarkably entertaining." The New York Times Book Review
"A physical, historical, and pre-eminently psychological journey." San Francisco Chronicle
The much anticipated novel from MacArthur Award-winning writer Hemon is a story of historical sweep and contemporary insight crafted in a dazzlingly original style. Illustrated.
A kaleidoscopic novel about the life and daydreams of Ulrich, a one hundred-year-old man from Bulgaria.
“Solo is a wonder—an exploration of memory, a window on a country and region mysterious to the West even in the twentieth century, a keen study of human love and failure.”—Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian
With imaginative audacity and lyrical brilliance, Rana Dasgupta paints a portrait of a century through the story of a hundred-year-old blind Bulgarian man in this remarkable and dazzling debut novel.
In the first movement of Solo we meet Ulrich, the son of a railroad engineer. His passion for chemistry leads him to Berlin, but his studies are cut short when he must return to Sofia to look after his parents. He never leaves Bulgaria again. Except in his daydreams—and it is those dreams we enter in the volatile second half of the book. In a radical leap from past to present, from life lived to life imagined, Dasgupta follows Ulrichs fantasy children, born of communism but making their way into a post-communist world of celebrity and violence.
Intertwining science and heartbreak, the old world and the new, Solo is a virtuoso work.
“A novel utterly refreshing in its blunt acknowledgment that thoroughgoing realism involves escaping reality as much as constructing it . . . What makes Mr. Dasguptas adventurous storytelling especially rewarding is the way he carefully integrates tiny details from Ulrichs drab life into his fantasy, transfiguring them like hay spun into gold . . . Invigorating.”—Wall Street Journal
With an imaginative audacity and lyrical brilliance that puts him in the company of David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, Rana Dasgupta paints a portrait of a century though the story of a hundred-year-old blind Bulgarian man in a first novel that announces the arrival of an exhilarating new voice in fiction.
In the first movement of Solo we meet Ulrich, the son of a railroad engineer, who has two great passions: the violin and chemistry. Denied the first by his father, he leaves for the Berlin of Einstein and Fritz Haber to study the latter. His studies are cut short when his fathers fortune evaporates, and he must return to Sofia to look after his parents. He never leaves Bulgaria again. Except in his daydreamsand it is those dreams we enter in the volatile second half of the book. In a radical leap from past to present, from life lived to life imagined, Dasgupta follows Ulrichs fantasy children, born of communism but making their way into a post-communist world of celebrity and violence.
Intertwining science and heartbreak, the old world and the new, the real and the imagined, Solo is a virtuoso work.
About the Author
Born in Sarajevo, Aleksandar Hemon came to Chicago in 1992. The author of the acclaimed Nowhere Man and The Question of Bruno, he writes stories and essays that appear regularly in The New Yorker, Granta, The Paris Review, and Best American Short Stories.
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