Picador £7.99 (210pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Love & Obstacles, By Aleksandar Hemon
Friday 16 April 2010
With guile and gusto, these eight stories abound in beautifully oblique sidelong and backwards glances at the genocidal war in Hemon's Bosnian homeland. Hemon – the refugee genius, Sarajevo-born, stranded in Chicago in 1992, hand-to-mouth survivor of America's worst jobs – sends up the familiar myth of himself.
Rueful and self-disparaging, retailing each mishap in a prose that fizzes with dark wit, the narrator often warns about the risks of confusing art and life. The nearest we get to the front-line of Bosnia's tragedy comes in a comic allegory of schoolkids who try to recapture a "garden of freedom" - a fable just as ferocious as Lord of the Flies, but much funnier.
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