The Book of My Lives
Essays pay tribute to the two different cities of the author's youth--Sarajevo, until the city came under siege, and then Chicago, where he and his family started a new life, leaving behind everything they had ever known.
Aleksandar Hemon's lives begin in Sarajevo, a small, blissful city where a young boy's life is consumed with street soccer with the neighborhood kids, resentment of his younger sister, and trips abroad with his engineer-cum-beekeeper father. Here, a young man's life is about poking at the pretensions of the city's elders with American music, bad poetry, and slightly better journalism. And then, his life in Chicago: watching from afar as war breaks out in Sarajevo and the city comes under siege, no way to return home; his parents and sister fleeing Sarajevo with the family dog, leaving behind all else they had ever known; and Hemon himself starting a new life, his own family, in this new city.
And yet this is not really a memoir. The Book of My Lives, Hemon's first book of nonfiction, defies convention and expectation. It is a love song to two different cities; it is a heartbreaking paean to the bonds of family; it is a stirring exhortation to go out and play soccer--and not for the exercise. It is a book driven by passions but built on fierce intelligence, devastating experience, and sharp insight. And like the best narratives, it is a book that will leave you a different reader--a different person, with a new way of looking at the world--when you've finished. For fans of Hemon's fiction,The Book of My Lives is simply indispensable; for the uninitiated, it is the perfect introduction to one of the great writers of our time.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2013
One of the great writers of our time pays tribute to the two different cities of his youth—Sarajevo, where he spent his time poking at the pretensions of the city's elders, and Chicago, where he and his family, after Sarajevo came under siege, started a new life, leaving behind everything they had ever known. 50,000 first printing.
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