Clinton Crockett Peters
Aleksandar Hemon is a six-foot-two, imposingly bald, deep-voiced, mild mannered edifice of a Bosnian. We met under the auspiciously towering bookshelves of the Locust Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in Denton, Texas. Hemon is visiting as an Artist-in-Residence for the University of North Texas and its Institute for the Advancement of the Arts. In 1992, at age 27, he visited America just before a siege tore apart his home in Sarajevo. Ensconced in Chicago, he decided to make a life there.
His first book, The Question of Bruno, was a collection of short stories, as was Nowhere Man, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His novel Lazarus Project (2008) was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was ranked the number one book of the year by New York Magazine. He frequently writes for the New Yorker but has also hung around in The Paris Review, Esquire and the New York Times. He was certified a “genius” by the MacArthur Foundation in 2004. His stories, essays, and novels have the quiet, unassuming, ruminative nature of his person. The prose leads the reader quietly, circling the drain of a central emotion, question, investigation, until it sucks the reader in completely. Like a good European, he loves soccer. Just after we finished talking, he lively and vainly cheered Liverpool to overcome the titan, Real Madrid. He tells me that determined Liverpool fans must sign off e-mails with “You’ll never walk alone.” So too, must interviewers.