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For the final event of the fourth season (and the last broadcast from Lookingglass Theatre), Bosnian-born, MacArthur Prize-winning author Aleksandar Hemon returned to Writers on the Record for a second appearance and to talk about his novel The Lazarus Project. Inspired by an actual 1908 murder of a Jewish immigrant in Chicago, Hemon’s book interweaves two parallel stories that oscillate between past and present, Eastern Europe and the Midwest, and a mission of discovery for two fictional characters who are immigrants themselves. During the interview, Aleksandar Hemon explains his use of contemporary and historic photographs to augment the narrative.
Hemon’s life drastically changed course when he became an accidental refugee in Chicago. Stranded during the war in his hometown of Sarajevo, he began to write in his newfound language, his life becoming inextricably woven into his award-winning work. Both of his books—the first a collection of stories, the second a novel—manage to be fragmented, non-linear, minutely-observed, funny, and deeply moving all at the same time. He snared a MacArthur Prize in 2004.