By Aleksandar Hemon
(Nan A. Talese, Hardcover, 9780385499248, 256pp.)
Publication Date: September 17, 2002
List Price: $23.95*
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Aleksandar Hemon, author of The Question of Bruno, one of the most celebrated debuts in recent American fiction, returns with the mind- and language-bending adventures of his endearing protagonist Jozef Pronek.
This is what we know about Jozef Pronek: He is a young man from Sarajevo who left to visit the United States in 1992, just in time to watch war break out at home on TV. Stranded in the relative comfort of Chicago, he proves himself a charming and frankly perceptive observer of – and participant in – American life. With Nowhere Man, Pronek, accidental urban nomad, gets his own book.
Aleksandar Hemon lovingly crafts Pronek into a character who is sure to become an enduring literary icon. From the grand causes of his adolescence – principally, fighting to change the face of rock and roll and, hilariously, struggling to lose his virginity – up through a fleeting encounter with George Bush (the first) in Kiev, to enrollment in a Chicago ESL class and the glorious adventures of minimum-wage living, Pronek’s experiences are at once touchingly familiar and bracingly out-of-the-ordinary.
But the story of his life is not so simple as a series of global adventures. Pronek is continually haunted by an unseen observer, his movements chronicled by narrators with dubious motives–all of which culminates in a final episode that upends many of our assumptions about Pronek’s identity, while illustrating precisely what it means to be a Nowhere Man.
With all the literary verve of The Question of Bruno, but with an engrossing narrative, engaging warmth, and refreshing humor, Nowhere Man brings to life a protagonist whose very way of looking at and living in the world provokes an exhilarating sense of seeing everything new again. And all the while, the inspired freshness of the prose reminds the reader why Aleksandar Hemon earned such extraordinary recognition after just one book.
Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Question of Bruno, which appeared on Best Books of 2000 lists nationwide, won several literary awards, and was published in eighteen countries. Born in Sarajevo, Hemon arrived in Chicago in 1992, began writing in English in 1995, and now his work appears regularly in The New Yorker, Esquire, Granta, Paris Review, and Best American Short Stories.