Saturday, September 27, 2008

Aleksandar Hemon

Hemon, originally from Bosnia, learned English in the U.S. as an adult, after becoming stranded in Chicago when war broke out in Bosnia in 1992. Good short story here. An excerpt:

A throng of Armani-clad businessmen surrounded some pretty, young interpreters, while the large head of a famous retired basketball player hovered above them, like a full moon. I spotted the Ambassador—a stout, prim Republican, with a puckered-asshole mouth—talking to a man I assumed was Macalister.

The possible Macalister was wearing a purple velvet jacket over a Hawaiian shirt. His jeans were worn and bulging mid-leg, as though he spent his days kneeling. He wore Birkenstocks with white socks. Everything on him looked hand-me-down. He was in his fifties but had a head of Bakelite-black hair that seemed as if it had been mounted on his head decades ago and had not changed shape since. Without expressing any identifiable emotion, he was listening to the Ambassador, who was rocking back and forth on his heels, pursing his lips, and slowly expelling a thought. Macalister was drinking water; his glass tilted slightly in his hand, so that the water repeatedly lapped against the brim of the glass, to the exact rhythm of the Ambassador’s rocking. I had finished my second beer and champagne and was considering refuelling, when the Ambassador bellowed “May I have your attention please!” and the din died down and the crowd around the Ambassador and Macalister moved aside. . . .

More on Hemon and his latest novel here.

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