MARQUETTE, Mich.—The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon is the 2011 selection for Marquette County’s One Book, One Community program. Hemon creates a work of historical fiction born from an event long shrouded in mystery: the 1908 shooting of 19-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe, by the chief of Chicago Police. The novel seamlessly weaves together Averbuch’s story with that of Vladimir Brik, the 21st century fictional hero who is a Bosnian-American writer in Chicago. Brik secures a grant to work on a book about Averbuch and becomes obsessed with what happened to him and why. His research takes him and quick-witted photographer Rora, whose photos accompany the story throughout the novel, on a crazy trip through Eastern Europe. Their tour ends up being more a journey into their own pasts than a fact-finding mission. Olga Averbuch, Lazarus’ sister, shares the narrative duties as she is hunted by the police and the press. Hemon's novel is bookended by murders. It showcases his wit and writing ability in a story about how discovering our past can tell us about our true selves. Hemon was stranded in the United States in 1992 after war broke out in his native Sarajevo. He has adopted Chicago as his new home. He completed his first short story within three years of learning to write in English. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, The Paris Review and in two acclaimed books, The Question of Bruno and Nowhere Man. An author visit, book discussions and other related programming are being planned around The Lazarus Project. One Book, One Community is designed to bring Marquette County residents and Northern Michigan University students together to read and discuss the same book. For an updated schedule of events, visit www.nmu.edu/onebook.
March 31, 2011