The Question of Bruno: Book summary and reviews of The Question of Bruno by Aleksandar Hemon

The Question of Bruno

By Aleksandar Hemon

The Question of Bruno
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  • Published in USA  May 2000,
    240 pages.

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Book Summary

The Question of Bruno is a novella and stories that are linked by characters, by locations, by interwoven substories, and by a literary voice so strong and sensitive that no matter how many guises it adopts, the stories cannot help but gather momentum and join together as a powerfully inventive whole.

Set in Chicago and Sarajevo, it is a book about the trauma of war, about how an exile makes a new life in a new land. But above all it is a work of impressive range, stunning accomplishment, and deep humor. In the novella "Blind Jozef Pronek and Dead Souls," a young Sarajevan travels to the United States and decides to stay when he sees war break out at home on CNN--he goes on to experience a starkly contemporary version of "coming to America." In "The Sorge Spy Ring," a young boy in communist Yugoslavia becomes convinced his father is a spy because of the strange toys he brings back from Moscow.

Whether Hemon is writing of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand or of a family trip to the beach, of an immigrant in the United States fired from a sandwich shop for an inability to distinguish between romaine and iceberg lettuce, or of the art of dodging sniper fire in a modern city under siege, he is both painfully funny and heartbreakingly sad. He writes with a wit, freshness, and true originality that prove him one of the most talented and skilled writers of his generation.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Generously endowed with pathos, humor and irony, and written in an off-balance, intoxicating English, this collection announces a talent reminiscent of the young Josef Skvorecky." - Publishers Weekly.

"This is the work of a rare talent who deserves our attention." - Library Journal.

"Fascinated with the meeting of memory and language, adept at conjuring states of mind, and haunted by the violence wracking his homeland, Hemon is a stoic tragedian and a brilliant satirist." - Booklist.

"Hemon's prose suffers occasionally from the overstudious diction of the non-native speaker, but he is clearly a writer of some promise." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Hemon is a maestro, a conjurer, a channeler of universes... As vivid prose as you will find anywhere this year." - Esquire Magazine.

"Before the comparisons to Nabokov and Conrad start coming (and odds are they'll come fast and furious), know this: Hemon is an original voice, and he has imagination and talent all his own. Grade A." - Entertainment Weekly.

"Aleksandar Hemon is a striking new voice in fiction. I admire his work tremendously." - Amy Tan.

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Author Information

Aleksandar Hemon Author Biography

Photo: Sa Schloff

Aleksandar Hemon was born in Darajevo in 1964 and Graduated from University of Sarajevo in 1990. In 1992 Hemon arrived in Chicago on what was planned to be a short visit, but he was soon stranded in the U.S. as Sarajevo fell under siege. When it became clear that he would be in the U.S. more or less permanently, he gave himself five years to master enough English to write fiction. He began writing in English in 1995 and is the author of The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, Love and Obstacles, and The Book of My Lives.

The Question of Bruno appeared on Best Books of 2000 lists nationwide, won several literary awards, and was published in eighteen countries. In addition, his work appears regularly in The New Yorker, Esquire, Granta, McSweeneys, Paris Review, and Best American Short ...

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