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BookBrowse Reviews The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon

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The Lazarus Project

by Aleksandar Hemon

The Lazarus Project
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  • First Published:
    May 2008, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2009, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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To dive into a Hemon novel is to feel, at least for the duration of its pages, that we are all exiles from the country of the real

The Lazarus Project creates a heavy, heartfelt wholeness out of three different kinds of loss. First there is Vladimir Brik, a young Bosnian-American whose only apparent difference from the author is his name (see sidebar). He has lost his homeland, a loss made sharper by his guilt at having escaped the ravages of war. In America, his new home, he feels forever tentative and dissociated. "The one thing I remembered and missed from the before-the-war Sarajevo," he says, "was a kind of unspoken belief that everyone could be whatever they claimed they were—each life, however imaginary, could be validated by its rightful, sovereign owner, from the inside."

He becomes almost morbidly fascinated by the true story of Lazarus Averbach, a Jewish man who escaped the pogroms of Eastern Europe only to be shot dead by the Chief of Police, mistaken for an anarchist a mere ...

*The term 'metafiction' was coined by William H Gass in a 1970 essay entitled "Philosophy and the Form of Fiction", in which he pointed out that a new term was needed to describe the emerging genre of fiction that broke with the then dominant conventions of novel writing by explicitly drawing attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality. Just as presentational theater never lets the audience forget they are viewing a play, metafiction continually reminds the reader that he or she is reading a fictional work.

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