Aleksandar Hemon’s lives begin in Sarajevo, a small, blissful city where a young boy’s life is consumed by football, by resentment of his younger sister, and by occasional trips abroad with his engineer-cum-beekeeper father; and where a young man’s life is about poking at the pretensions of the city’s elders with American music, bad poetry, and slightly better journalism.
Yet this is not really a memoir. It is a lovesong to Sarajevo and to Hemon’s adopted Chicago; it is a heartbreaking paean to the bonds of family; it is a stirring exhortation to go out and play football – and not for the exercise. It is a book driven by passions but built on fierce intelligence, devastating experience, and sharp insight. And like the best narratives, it is a book that will leave you a different reader – a different person, with a new way of looking at the world.
For fans of Hemon’s fiction, The Book of My Lives is simply indispensable. For the uninitiated, it is the perfect introduction to one of the great writers of our time.