comments_image Comments

Aleksandar Hemon: “I cannot stand that whole game of confession. I have nothing to confess and I do not ask for redemption”

Though I've known Aleksandar Hemon over the years — we first met at the book party for his second work of fiction, "Nowhere Man," at his publisher's house in New York — I've only had a chance to really sit and talk with him in Chicago, my native city and his adopted hometown. I interviewed him in 2009 for Bookforum, about "Love and Obstacles," his last collection of stories, when he told me he hated memoir — which made me laugh, especially since his editor published James Frey, whose loose interpretation of the form landed the "memoirist" in hot water with the formidable Oprah Winfrey. But I remember thinking, as we parted ways, if anyone should be writing memoir, it should be Hemon, a man who has led at least two distinct lives: one in Sarajevo just before the siege, and then his life as an accidental, now naturalized citizen of Chicago, after a junket to the States left him stranded here, unable to return to his war-torn home. And while he has expertly mined this bisected existence for his fiction, I was eager as a reader and as an acquaintance, to learn the "true stories," as they call them in Bosnia (Hemon explains there are no words in Bosnian for "fiction" or "nonfiction," per se).

Continue Reading...

Today's Top Stories