Aleksandar Hemon interview:
 "The Question of Bruno," Zadie Smith once remarked, "is all right I suppose if you appreciate multilingual genius types who learn the language in six months, write with great humour and style and then get compared to Nabokov in the New York Times."

Army service was followed by a degree in English at the University of Sarajevo. Hemon read Nabokov's Lolita in translation (he still remembers the shelf on which the book sat in the library), then worked as a journalist for the Sarajevan youth press. In the winter of 1992, an organisation called the American Cultural Centre brought him to the US on a programme for young journalists. He was 28; the trip was to last a month or so, with a visit to a friend tagged on afterwards. The war began in April. He was supposed to fly back from Chicago on May 1; the siege of Sarajevo started on May 2. "I didn't go back," Hemon says.


A. Bouazza

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