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Love and Obstacles by Aleksandar Hemon
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Love and Obstacles (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Aleksandar Hemon

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182665,058 (3.95)2
Member:adrianburke
Title:Love and Obstacles
Authors:Aleksandar Hemon
Info:Picador (2010), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Love and Obstacles by Aleksandar Hemon (2009)

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Hemon's style knocks me out. His language and syntax read like poetry. The situations in this collection of stories have a lurking dread just off screen somewhere. ( )
  paakre | Apr 27, 2013 |
The content and temporal setting reminded me strongly of How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone|2048143|How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone. I wish a little bit that I had read them more closely together in my own temporal setting. Three-and-a-half stars. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
I really think Aleksandar Hemon is one of the most underrated authors of our time. Though I think some of his other works are more astounding outright, this is very subtly effective in its statements. He's had an interesting life and no doubt that helps make these stories diverse and exceptional. It's interesting to see how others and his experience have shaped him, making him one of the greatest authors of today. In this book, he skirts the line between what seems like fiction and nonfiction and makes us believe in the honor and beauty of both, which is remarkable.

I would recommend reading others of Hemon's first. Nowhere Man is fantastic and Lazarus Project is utterly brilliant but it's the kind of novel you savor and it takes you a long time to finish it because you don't want it to be finished. ( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
Judging by this collection, Aleksandar Hemon is an average storyteller. Well, average in the sense of literary talent. His characters are pretty average. In most ways, Hemon's stories seem pretty average.

Where Hemon stands out from the rest of his literary contemporaries, however, is in his use of language. It is both gorgeous and original. He is able to paint an image of a common object in a way no one has before, and he does it over and again. Sometimes it is a stretch--but if the reader can forgive Hemon the occasional blunder, they will be amazed at his overall mastery of language.

It is interesting that Hemon himself learned English as an adult. He was visiting the US when civil war broke out in Bosnia. He picked up the language and began writing years later. In his writing, Hemon doesn't use the cliches that most writers repeatedly use as a crutch (perhaps unknowingly). He tears down the English language, and carefully, as if it were clay, reshapes it and molds into something that is quite the same, but entirely different.

Throughout this collection of short stories, I went back over many sentences, reread them and pondered their beauty. The stories weren't that memorable, neither were the characters, and soon I will forget them entirely. But those sentences--those extravagant sentences--they made reading the book well worth it. ( )
  chrisblocker | Mar 30, 2013 |
I started reading this book of short stories and thinking I don' twant to read short stories - you commit to a book and you want to follow the characters through to the end. Short stories call for too much multiple short-lived bursts of commitment in a book. How wrong I was. I have been reading one story after the other. The disconnected temporary lives of the dispossessed. You could only rightfully write like Hemon if you had lived that sort of life, had those sort of inner lives. I am looking forward to reading the Lazarus book when the library gets it in. ( )
  adrianburke | Feb 27, 2013 |
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The linked stories of "Love and Obstacles" center around a young man from Yugosalvia who immigrates to America. In dazzling prose, Hemon (himself an immigrant from Yugoslavia) portrays the complications, "the obstacles," of growing up in a Communist but cosmopolitan country, and the disintegration of that country and the consequent uprooting and move to America in young adulthood.… (more)

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