Love and Obstacles By Aleksandar Hemon. Riverhead Books. 210 pages. $25.95.
Aleksandar Hemon's backstory is, by now, well-known. Born in Sarajevo, he came to the United States in 1992 on a cultural visa as a 28-year-old journalist. When the war broke out in his hometown, he was granted political asylum and settled down in Chicago, taking jobs as a dishwasher and sandwich maker and trying to learn English by making lists of words from the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov.
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Charles E. May is professor emeritus of English at California State University, Long Beach