Saturday, September 29, 2007

Unusual Man

Nowhere ManNowhere Man 
by Aleksandar Hemon

“If you can't go home, there is nowhere to go, and nowhere is the biggest place in the world-indeed, nowhere is the world.”   ― Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project

In Nowhere Man, Aleksandar Hemon takes his protagonist from Sarajevo to the Soviet Union, from Chicago to Shanghai. In a way this strange but interesting novel is in part a "Chicago" novel. From the grand causes of Jozef's adolescence -- for instance trying to change the face of rock and roll and, hilariously, struggling to lose his virginity -- to a fleeting encounter with George Bush (the first) in Kiev, to enrollment in a Chicago ESL class and the sometimes glorious adventures of minimum-wage living, which includes stints as a P.I. and as a fund-raiser for Greenpeace, Hemon crafts an unusual but endearing character. Written with all the literary verve of his earlier stories, but funnier, warmer, and more accessible, "Nowhere Man" traces a life at once touchingly familiar, eccentric, strange and bracingly out-of-the-ordinary.

This was an attempt to create a novel that would have been more successful if it was told in a more straight forward manner. The postmodern style and neologisms that may have stemmed from the author's own experience as one for whom English was not his first language combine to make this novel unsuccessful. In spite of this the author has won extraordinary recognition after just one book.

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