The Book of My Lives

Editorial reviews

The Book of My Lives

Still, the way these essays are collected is frustrating. All but one of them have been published somewhere else and they have not been reworked with enough care.

The Book of My Lives is a thoughtfully humorous and profoundly sad memoir-cum-collection of essays that explores Hemon's first life, growing up in the lively cultural atmosphere of Sarajevo before the onset of the war in Bosnia, and his second life as a sort of accidental exile in America, where he was effectively trapped in 1992 when the war broke out.

How one young man from Sarajevo found his place and his voice in America and evolved a language in which to make sense both of what he’d left behind and what he embraced in his new life.

Part of what Hemon is tracing is his own awakening, his discovery that what we say and do matters, that there are consequences for everything.

The sense of adventure and quiet humour that makes Hemon’s fiction stand out among his contemporaries is on display here, along with prose that is crisp and clear while still retaining his distinctive voice.

Amuses, informs and inspires—then, finally, rips open the heart.

He is not only a remarkably talented writer but also one of the great social observers, a cultural anthropologist who seems at home everywhere and nowhere and who balances despair with hope, anger with humor.

Confessional yet honourably restrained, these pages promise to be unforgettable.