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The Question of Bruno Paperback – 7 Aug 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (7 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330393480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330393485
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘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

Book Description

A electrifying collection of stories from one of the most blazing talents working in English today

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Question of Bruno is a collection of stories united, if by anything, the reader's awareness of the author's personal presence within the stories. Ranging from the mythological origins of the Hemon family to a forensicly candid description of dodging sniper bullets in Sarajevo, to living with a rotting corpse in the bathroom, the collection always surprises, offering diversity and often a successful literary experiment. To Hemon's credit, in distinction from experimental prose which is often tedious, he rarely (if at all) leaves the reader behind; indeed he never seems to offer experiment for its own sake, and yields prose which serves to communicate rather than confuse. Perhaps one of the more subtle and admirable qualities of the collection is the editing which is able to blend such diverse stories in a meaningful manner.
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Format: Paperback
"The Question of Bruno" appeared in 2000, just 8 years after the author was forced to remain in the USA, which he was visiting, when civil war broke out in his native Bosnia.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Kindle version is a disgrace ... words broken up in the wrong places, fragments of words falsely connected to other words. As well as an enjoyable piece of very good writing, Kindle turned reading this an irritating guessing game, a test of splitting and reorganizing letters in non-words to figure out the meaning of the text. Amazon should be ashamed of doing this to such a good writer.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Bright fragments reveal a confusing, but compelling account of Bosnia past and present 27 May 2013
By keetmom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Aleksandar Hemon has produced a masterpiece. Reading "The question of Bruno" is the literary equivalent of watching the bright colours and shifting shapes of a kaleidoscope turn endlessly in confusing, but compelling patterns. It is a collection of short stories each of which contains a kernel in it somewhere that reflects a new dimension of Bosnian reality before it too spins away to be replaced by another account, different in time, space and meaning, but again contributing to the emerging whole. The horrors of civil war, the alienation of exile, the imagination of youth, the loss of innocence, the tyranny of history - all this and more is waiting to be exposed in language so rich and beautiful it almost sings. What a talent, what a life. There is much in this book that you may not understand, but little that you will ever forget.
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