The Immigrant Experience Redux,
This review is from: Love and Obstacles (Hardcover)
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Alexander Hemon then - He presents us with 8 interwoven storylines that, even though for this Bosnian novelist his mastery of the English language is something slightly recent for him, are mirror-images into his own life as a young immigrant in Chicago; earlier years in Bosnia / Sarajevo and a teenage summer in Kinshasa ("Stairway To Heaven" is the particular standout for myself). Although not in Bosnia when the war and subsequent slaughter erupted, whilst viewing it from afar Hemon notes how violence and bombast can shake a mundane Life in even the most smallest of portions. Stories such as "Everything", "Azra" and "The Noble Truths of Suffering" are far-flung as move us from geek girlfriends and the later lives in which they excel, and pointless violence at the hands of hotel receptionists.
All written in Hemon's strange and spiralling prose (no doubt honed from English's second language status for himself) the reader has no choice but to attempt to seek themes and correlation within the stories... the very title itself, "Love and Obstacles" seems itself to be endowned with meaning, but that's for the reader to unravel as Hemon isn't telling. don't get too obsessed with picking out the meaning amongst the threads though, for first-and-foremost the short stories complete a satisfying whole within the imagination, which makes this highly recommended in these trying times.