Aleksandar Hemon In Conversation
Aleksandar Hemon was born in 1964 in Sarajevo. He is the author of several works of fiction, including The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project, and of non-fiction works The Book of My Lives (which includes the essay ‘The Aquarium’, extracted in The New Yorker) and My Parents: An Introduction and This Does Not Belong to You. His work as a screenplay writer includes most recently The Matrix Resurrections (co-written with David Mitchell). He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a ‘Genius’ grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Aleksandar Hemon also writes and records music (EDM) under the name Cielo Hemon. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University.
His new book The World and All That It Holds will be published by Picador Books on February 2nd.
As the Archduke Franz Ferdinand arrives in Sarajevo one June day in 1914, Rafael Pinto is busy crushing herbs and grinding tablets behind the counter at the pharmacy he inherited from his father. It’s not quite the life he had expected during his poetry-filled student days in libertine Vienna, but it’s nothing a dash of laudanum, a summer stroll and idle fantasies can’t put in perspective.
And then the world explodes. In the trenches in Galicia, fantasies fall flat. Heroism gets a man killed quickly. War devours all that they have known, and the only thing Pinto has to live for are the attentions of Osman, a fellow soldier, a man of action to complement Pinto’s introspective, poetic soul; a charismatic storyteller and Pinto’s protector and lover.
Together, Pinto and Osman will escape the trenches and find themselves entangled with spies and Bolsheviks. As they travel over mountains and across deserts, from one world to another, all the way to Shanghai, it is Pinto’s love for Osman that will truly survive.
Rob Doyle’s first novel, Here Are the Young Men, was published in 2014 and he adapted it for a film with director Eoin Macken. Doyle’s collection of short stories, This is the Ritual, was published in 2016. His most recent novel Threshold was published in 2020. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, Vice, TLS, Dublin Review, and many other publications, and he writes a weekly books column for the Irish Times.
Followed by a book signing. Copies of The World and All That It Holds will be on sale at the event.