The Lazarus Project
A first full-length work by the MacArthur Award-winning author of the story collections
Blackwell North Amer
On March 2, 1908, nineteen-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe to Chicago, knocked on the front door of the home of George Shippy, the Chicago chief of police. When Shippy came to the door, Lazarus offered him what he said was an important letter. Instead of taking the letter, Shippy shot Lazarus twice, killing him. Shippy released a statement casting Lazarus as a would-be anarchist assassin and agent of foreign political operatives, leaving Lazarus's sister, Olga, bereaved and stranded at the center of a city and a country simmering with ethnic and political tensions.
Now, in the twenty-first century, a young writer in Chicago, Brik, also from Eastern Europe, becomes obsessed with Lazarus's story - what really happened, and why? In order to understand Lazarus Averbuch, Brik and his friend Rora - who overflows with stories of his life as a Sarajevo war photographer - retrace Lazarus's path backward across Eastern Europe, through a history of pogroms and poverty, and through a present day of cheap mafiosi and cheaper prostitutes. The stories of Lazarus and Brik become inextricably entwined, augmented by the photographs that Rora takes on their journey, creating a truly original, provocative, and entertaining novel.
The murder of Jewish immigrant Lazarus Averbuch triggers ethnic and political tensions in early twentieth-century Chicago, an event that is investigated a century later by a young writer from Eastern Europe.
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