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Author: Aleksandar Hemon Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki, Gabrielle de Cuir, Vikas Adam Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2014 ISBN: 9781482951325
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In this stylistically adventurous, brilliantly funny tour de force—the most highly acclaimed debut since Nathan Englander’s—Aleksandar Hemon writes of love and war, Sarajevo and America, with a skill and imagination that are breathtaking.

A love affair is experienced in the blink of an eye as the Archduke Ferdinand watches his wife succumb to an assassin’s bullet. An exiled writer, working in a sandwich shop in Chicago, adjusts to the absurdities of his life. Love letters from war-torn Sarajevo navigate the art of getting from point A to point B without being shot. With a sure-footed sense of detail and life-saving humor, Aleksandar Hemon examines the overwhelming events of history and the effect they have on individual lives. These heartrending stories bear the unmistakable mark of an important international writer.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Entertaining stories about Sarajevo? Weirdly droll and heartbreaking, this debut volume deftly anatomizes a world gone wrong.”


  • “The Yugoslavian-born author came to the United States on vacation but was forced to stay when his country erupted in war. In this collection of stories, political reality is driven into everyday life like a wedge or—just as often—a knife. The most straightforward pieces benefit immensely from the fact that English is not Hemon’s native language. Like Conrad’s, his prose often makes the most of emphatically discordant notes: an initially incongruous word comes to seem a perfect choice.”

    New Yorker

  • “So good as to make the reader feel certain of having discovered not just an extraordinary story but an extraordinary writer: one who seems not simply gifted but necessary.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The man is a maestro…As vivid a prose as you will find anywhere this year, and as heartbreaking.”


  • “An inventive and thorny collection of interlocking narratives that has the jarring immediacy of autobiography, as if Hemon were brandishing a handheld video camera at the inchoate episodes of his life. But his artful anarchic jump-cutting is firmly grounded by the undeniable heft of history…Whether pondering the coldblooded craft of Sarajevo’s snipers or offering a Proustian joke, Hemon has an impeccable ear for the mundane ironies and bleak compromises elicited by extraordinary events.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “That eerie half-world in which small personal dramas play out against shattering current events is the territory of Aleksandar Hemon’s assured first short-story collection, The Question of Bruno—a debut all the more impressive because the author, a native of Sarajevo, only recently learned English. Before the comparisons to Nabokov and Conrad start coming, however (and odds are they’ll come fast and furious), know this: Hemon is an original voice, and he has imagination and talent all his own…[Grade:] A.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “It is surely no coincidence that the name of Joseph Conrad, another European exile whose native language is not English, is alluded to several times in Hemon’s often thrilling debut collection, The Question of Bruno. There could hardly be a better ancestor-mentor invoked. Hemon’s memoir-like stories and one novella here tell us much about the horrors of war, the confusions of identity, and the no-less-perplexing business of creating a new life in a country not your own.”


  • “Like Nabokov, Hemon writes with the startling peeled vision of the outsider, weighing words as if for the first time; he shares with Kundera an ability to find grace and humor in the bleakest of circumstances. In part his book is a history lesson, but it is history felt on a human pulse. He imagines his way back into the troubled soul of his home city and tells its tales from within.”

    Observer (London)

  • “By turns terrifying, gently comic, and brutally satiric, these are stunning stories that compel the reader to view a world rendered…abruptly alien and unfamiliar.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “The book’s language is rich, complex, sharply intelligent, and frequently funny—a pleasant surprise for readers of new fiction, and all the more astonishing considering Hemon wrote it in English, his second language.”

    Time Out New York

  • “Expertly wrought…Generously endowed with pathos, humor, and irony, and written in an off-balance, intoxicating English, this collection announces a talent reminiscent of the young Josef Skvorecky.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Hemon’s writing is sensible, with a hint of satire, and is heavily based on wistful description rather than farfetched dialogue…This is the work of a rare talent who deserves our attention.”

    Library Journal

  • “The exile’s wrenching experiences of learning a new language and culture infuse his edgy stories with a hallucinatory intensity. Hemon handles English as though each sentence were an incendiary device, beautifully made but volatile; and each tale, loaded with painful memories and scouring observations, is an ambush on an elusive enemy…Fascinated with the meeting of memory and language, adept at conjuring states of mind, and haunted by the violence wracking his homeland, Hemon is a stoic tragedian and a brilliant satirist.”


  • A New York Times Notable Book
  • An Esquire Magazine Best Book of the Year, 2000
  • A Village Voice Literary Supplement 25 Favorite Book of the Year, 2000
  • A 2000 Los Angeles Times Best Book

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About the Author

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, as well as of Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. 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.

About the Narrators

Stefan Rudnicki first became involved with audiobooks in 1994. Now a Grammy-winning audiobook producer, he has worked on more than three thousand audiobooks as a narrator, writer, producer, or director. He has narrated more than three hundred audiobooks. A recipient of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, he was presented the coveted Audie Award for solo narration in 2005, 2007, and 2014, and was named one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices in 2012.

Gabrielle de Cuir, award-winning narration, has narrated over two hundred titles and specializes in fantasy, humor, and titles requiring extensive foreign language and accent skills. She was a cowinner of the Audie Award for best narration in 2011 and a three-time finalist for the Audie and has garnered six AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her “velvet touch” as an actor’s director has earned her a special place in the audiobook world as the foremost producer for bestselling authors and celebrities.

Vikas Adam is a classically trained actor with numerous credits in stage, film, commercials, and television, in addition to his over one hundred recorded audiobooks. An Audie Award nominee, he has garnered many awards for his narrations, including seven AudioFile Earphones Awards and various Best of the Year lists.