Read Love and Obstacles by Aleksandar Hemon Free Online
Book Title: Love and Obstacles|
The author of the book: Aleksandar Hemon
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 23.21 MB
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Loaded: 1300 times
Reader ratings: 5.2
Edition: Riverhead Hardcover
Date of issue: May 14th 2009
ISBN 13: 9781594488641
Read full description of the books:
New Yorker: How much of your work is autobiographical Mr. Hemon?
AH: “Here’s how it works: Last night, on my way to give a reading, I hurt a ligament in my right hand while putting my shoe on. As I was driving this morning and talking on the phone with my sister in London, I lost my grip and sideswept my neighbor’s car. Being honest, I went to their house to tell them what I had done. When I rang the bell nobody answered. I knocked and went in anyway, thinking they might be in the backyard. The house was empty, and as I walked through I noticed a vase in the shape of a monkey head. The light angle made it somehow seem that the monkey was winking at me, so I picked the head up to examine it, but then, dropped it, what with the weak hand ligament, and it shattered in a thousand pieces. For a moment, I considered cleaning up or waiting for my neighbors to show up, but then decided to sneak out. Now I dread hearing the door bell.
I could go on and turn this into a story. I did hurt my hand last night and I did get into the car this morning, but I did not cause any damage, nor did I trespass. I did not talk to my sister yesterday, but she does live in London. And I’ve never seen a monkey head like that. So, how much of this putative story is autobiographical?”
I love this quote. It is the definitive answer to that hackneyed but irresistible question, forever, for all writers everywhere. Aleksandar Hemon is my freaking hero and while it's probably stupid to spout absolutes I've still got to spout that AH is the most talented young English-language writer in the world today.
Love and Obstacles isn't a perfect short story collection (name one that is, and whoever says fucking Dubliners gets to run extra laps after school) but it is a return to form after the somewhat overbaked The Lazarus Project. Love and Obstacles is a refracted, lighter, and more worldly companion to his masterpiece Nowhere Man. Each story can be read on its own and each has a killer clincher straight out of the O'Henry manual (though these involve unexpectedly engorged penises and eyeballs getting knocked out of their sockets) but like Nowhere Man the reader is gradually clued in to the prismatic shape of the narration towards the second half of the book. All is then sealed in final pages. The story is one, but it is not linear, it is multi-faceted and tangential. The narrator knows his own story but often others, outsiders, know it even better and are able to shine light into the far-off unlit corners. Yeah, a prism.
Love and Obstacles has Hemon shifting away from Nabokov (even if the influence is still there) and picking up a little from Bruno Shultz (in particular the character of the father) in making his own cynical but somehow very humane style more distinct. The surprise for me here is the twist on his "Plucky Immigrant Does Well in America" story: The sparkle fades and the immigrant discovers, to his own surprise, that American culture is just as bland, brutal, and superficial as the one he left behind.
Finally if you can only read one of these stories and want a distinct sample of what Aleksandar Hemon is all about, read either "The Conductor" or "The Noble Truths of Suffering."
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Read information about the authorHemon graduated from the University of Sarajevo with a degree in literature in 1990. He moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1992 and found that he was unable to write in Bosnian and spoke little English.
In 1995, he started writing works in English and managed to showcase his work in prestigious magazines such as the New Yorker and Esquire. He is the author of The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and three books of short stories: The Question of Bruno; Nowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Love and Obstacles. He was the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship and a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation. He lives in Chicago.
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