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A Bosnian chimera

Aleksandar Hemon's new novel deftly blends two contrasting tales of exile in America. It is also a book about writing, and how history resists the categories and resolutions we try to impose on it

By Mary Fitzgerald   August 2008

The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon (Picador, £14.99)

“I am a reasonably loyal citizen of a couple of countries,” Vladimir Brik tells us by way of introduction. “In America—that sombre land—I waste my vote, pay my taxes grudgingly, share my life with a native wife, and try hard not to wish painful death to the idiot president. But I also have a Bosnian passport I seldom use…”

Brik has been living in the US since war broke out in Bosnia in the early 1990s, and is now in a phase best described as “moral waddling”: thickening on cheeseburgers in suburban…

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