The Question of Bruno Paperback – 7 Aug 2009
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‘You will go a long way to find anything better than this’ Edward Docx
‘There is simply more history and more drama in Hemon’s stories than in a shelf and a half of the usual dayglo Anglo-American entertainment’ Guardian
‘Like Nabokov, Hemon writes with the startling peeled vision of the outsider, weighing words as if for the first time; he shares with Kundera an ability to find grace and humour in the bleakest of circumstances’ Observer
‘A storyteller, funny and sad in equal measure, and always entertaining’ Scotland on Sunday
‘Amazing. The personal fall-out of political failure has never been so searing’ Time Out
A electrifying collection of stories from one of the most blazing talents working in English todaySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
During the intervening years he learned English `sufficiently well', an understatement if ever there was, to write this book which contains a novella, "Blind Jozef Pronek and Dead Souls", and 7 short stories, "Islands", "The Life and Work of Alphonse Kauders", "The Sorge Spy Ring", "The Accordion", "Exchange of Pleasant Words", "A Coin" and "Imitation of Life", both formats that require each word to be placed with care and considerable forethought. Whilst the pieces are able to stand alone, they are connected by their characters and remember a childhood in Tito's Yugoslavia and the cultural dilution that may accompany immigration. The book is dedicated "For Sarajevo, For my wife".
Islands is told in short vignettes, apparently representing "slands" of narratives. Perhaps it would be better to start with one of the other short stories, such as "Coin" and to come back to this one.
"The Life and Work of Alphonse Kauders" is a multiple biography of the same character in brief one-sentence paragraphs, complete with end notes. I found this the most difficult read of the book. The reader is left pondering whether a character like Alphonse ever existed since he crops up time after time alongside historical persons, Goebbels, Stalin and Gavrilo Princip, the Bosnian Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, in Sarajevo in 1914 and so set in train World War I.
In "The Accordion", the same Archduke sees a man with an accordion moments before he is killed.Read more ›