The book of my lives /
Aleksandar Hemon.
edition
First Picador edition.
imprint
New York : Picador, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.
description
xii, 242 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
1250043549, 9781250043542
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Picador, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.
New York, N.Y. : Picador, 2014.
isbn
1250043549
9781250043542
contents note
The lives of others -- Sound and vision -- Family dining -- The Kauders case -- Life during wartime -- The magic mountain -- Let there be what cannot be -- Dog lives -- My prisoner -- The book of my life -- The lives of a flaneur -- Reasons why I do not wish to leave Chicago : an incomplete, random list -- If God existed, He'd be a solid midfielder -- The lives of grandmasters -- Kennel life -- The aquarium.
general note
"All the pieces were originally published in somewhat different form and have been revised and edited for this book."--Page 242.
"With new material for the paperback edition"--Cover.
catalogue key
9902275
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2013-01-14:
Hemon is known for fiction like Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, but this work is his first volume of nonfiction. A collection of 15 mostly previously published essays assembled in somewhat chronological order, the book has the feel of a patchwork memoir that focuses on defining and enlightening moments in the author's life rather than his existence as a whole. The "lives" of the title refer to his formative years growing up in Sarajevo and his adult life as a resident to Chicago and the stories are basically split between these two worlds. The first half of the book finds Hemon writing about himself and socio-political beliefs such as communism, socialism, and journalism, and the tales-while important in the context of the Bosnian War of the '90s-lack a wider perspective that would make them more inviting and compelling. But with the eighth entry, "Dog Lives," which centers on two family pets and straddles both Hemon's homes, the author begins to reveal more of his feelings, dwelling less on philosophy, thereby creating a true connection with his subject and audience. As he goes on to focus on his adopted hometown, the immigrants he plays soccer with, the chess players at his local cafe, and his past and present lovers, the themes and writing become more personal, emotional, and dynamic. The book culminates with "The Aquarium," 28 heart-wrenching pages of powerful prose originally published in the New Yorker, about his infant daughter's battle with cancer that is nothing short of a tour de force; its terrible beauty demonstrates Hemon's transformation as a writer and a man. Agent: Nicole Aragi, the Aragi Agency. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An extraordinary story."- The New Yorker "As crowded as the pool of contemporary writers wrestling with the American experience has become_ no discussion is complete without Aleksandar Hemon."- Chicago Tribune "There's a tendency to look askance at essay collections_ as if they had no urgency of their own. I defy anyone to make such an argument after reading Aleksandar Hemon's The Book of My Lives ."- Los Angeles Times
This item was reviewed in:
The Australian, May 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Aleksandar Hemon's lives begin in Sarajevo, a small, blissful city where a young boy's life is consumed with street soccer with the neighborhood kids, resentment of his younger sister, and trips abroad with his engineer-cum-beekeeper father. Here, a young man's life is about poking at the pretensions of the city's elders with American music, bad poetry, and slightly better journalism. And then, his life in Chicago: watching from afar as war breaks out in Sarajevo and the city comes under siege, no way to return home; his parents and sister fleeing Sarajevo with the family dog, leaving behind all else they had ever known; and Hemon himself starting a new life, his own family, in this new city.And yet this is not really a memoir. The Book of My Lives , Hemon's first book of nonfiction, defies convention and expectation. It is a love song to two different cities; it is a heartbreaking paean to the bonds of family; it is a stirring exhortation to go out and play soccer-and not for the exercise. It is a book driven by passions but built on fierce intelligence, devastating experience, and sharp insight. And like the best narratives, it is a book that will leave you a different reader-a different person, with a new way of looking at the world-when you've finished. For fans of Hemon's fiction, The Book of My Lives is simply indispensab≤ for the uninitiated, it is the perfect introduction to one of the great writers of our time.
Main Description
"AT ONCE UNIMAGINABLE AND UNFORGETTABLE."- TIME The first nonfiction book-searing, revealing, unforgettable-from one of our most acclaimed writers Aleksandar Hemon's lives begin in Sarajevo. There, a boyhood of street soccer and sibling rivalry matures-into a young man's life of bad poetry, and slightly better journalism. Years passed, and Hemon embarked on a trip that would mark a third beginning, this time in the United States. As a tourist in Chicago, he watched as war broke out from Sarajevo, his parents and sister fleeing, and Hemon himself unable to return.Stranded, Hemon eventually started his own family, and permanent life in this new city. Yet this, his first book of nonfiction, is much more than a memoir of these experiences. At once a love song to two cities and a paean to the bonds of family, The Book of My Lives is a singular work of passion, built on fierce intelligence, unspeakable tragedies, and sharp insight. Like the best narratives, it is a book that will leave you a different reader when you finish-and a different person, with a new way of looking at the world. - With a new essay
Main Description
"AT ONCE UNIMAGINABLE AND UNFORGETTABLE."- TIME The first nonfiction book-searing, revealing, unforgettable-from one of our most acclaimed writers Aleksandar Hemon's lives begin in Sarajevo. There, a boyhood of street soccer and sibling rivalry matures-into a young man's life of bad poetry, and slightly better journalism. Years passed, and Hemon embarked on a trip that would mark a third beginning, this time in the United States. As a tourist in Chicago, he watched as war broke out from Sarajevo, his parents and sister fleeing, and Hemon himself unable to return.Stranded, Hemon eventually started his own family, and permanent life in this new city. Yet this, his first book of nonfiction, is much more than a memoir of these experiences. At once a love song to two cities and a paean to the bonds of family, The Book of My Lives is a singular work of passion, built on fierce intelligence, unspeakable tragedies, and sharp insight. Like the best narratives, it is a book that will leave you a different reader when you finish-and a different person, with a new way of looking at the world._ With a new essay
Main Description
The first nonfiction book--searing, revealing, unforgettable--from one of today's most acclaimed writers. In Sarajevo, a young boy's life is consumed with street soccer with his casually multiethnic group of friends, resentment of his younger sister, and trips abroad with his engineer-cum-beekeeper father.

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