In two collections of stories, The Question of Brunoand the NBCC-finalist Nowhere Man, Aleksandar Hemon has earned unmatched literary acclaim and a reputation as one of the English languages 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 shimmeringsometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreakingcontemporary 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 Lazaruss storywhat really happened, and why? In order to understand Averbuch, Brik and his friend Rorawho overflows with stories of his life as a Sarajevo war photographerretrace Averbuchs 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 will confirm Hemon once and for all as one of the most dynamic and essential literary voices of our time.
New York, NY : Riverhead : 2008
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From Library Staff
The story of then and now, for East European refugees in Chicago circa 1900 and again in the 1990s.
This story is both terribly sad and terribly hopeful. It explores how immigrants can never fully understand the new culture they find themselves in, and finds redemption in the most bleak of circumstances.