Nowhere Man: Book summary and reviews of Nowhere Man by Aleksandar Hemon

Nowhere Man

By Aleksandar Hemon

Nowhere Man
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2002,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

This is what we know about Jozef Pronek: He is a young man from Sarajevo who left to visit the United States in 1992, just in time to watch war break out at home on TV. Stranded in the relative comfort of Chicago, he proves himself a charming and frankly perceptive observer of – and participant in – American life. With Nowhere Man, Pronek, accidental urban nomad, gets his own book.

Aleksandar Hemon lovingly crafts Pronek into a character who is sure to become an enduring literary icon. From the grand causes of his adolescence – principally, fighting to change the face of rock and roll and, hilariously, struggling to lose his virginity – up through a fleeting encounter with George Bush (the first) in Kiev, to enrollment in a Chicago ESL class and the glorious adventures of minimum-wage living, Pronek’s experiences are at once touchingly familiar and bracingly out-of-the-ordinary.

But the story of his life is not so simple as a series of global adventures. Pronek is continually haunted by an unseen observer, his movements chronicled by narrators with dubious motives – all of which culminates in a final episode that upends many of our assumptions about Pronek’s identity, while illustrating precisely what it means to be a Nowhere Man.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Pronek's constantly reconfiguring life makes the novel a wild, twisty read, and Hemon's inimitable voice and the wry urgency of his storytelling should cement his reputation as a talented young writer." - Publishers Weekly.

"Think of the gifted Hemon as a kinder and gentler - and infinitely funnier - Jerzy Kosinski. A wry, touching chronicle of the misadventures of a stranger in several strange lands. Don't miss it." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Hemon, who possesses a diabolical sense of humor and a wickedly visceral sensibility, and who handles English as though it were nitroglycerine, considers the precariousness of existence, the continual revision of identity and dreams that immigrant life demands, and the ever-present shadow of death." - Booklist.

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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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