The Lazarus Project

The Lazarus Project

Book - 2008
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In two collections of stories, The Question of Brunoand the NBCC-finalist Nowhere Man, Aleksandar Hemon has earned unmatched literary acclaim and a reputation as one of the English language’s most original and moving wordsmiths. In The Lazarus Project, Hemon has turned these talents to an embracing novel that intertwines haunting historical atmosphere and detail with sharp and shimmering—sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking—contemporary storytelling. On March 2, 1908, nineteen-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, a recent Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe to Chicago, knocked on the front door of the house of George Shippy, the chief of Chicago police. When Shippy came to the door, Averbuch offered him what he said was an important letter. Instead of taking the letter, Shippy shot Averbuch twice, killing him. When Shippy released a statement casting Averbuch as a would-be anarchist assassin and agent of foreign political operatives, he all but set off a city and a country already simmering with ethnic and political tensions. Now, in the twenty-first century, a young writer in Chicago, Brik, also from Eastern Europe, becomes obsessed with Lazarus’s story—what really happened, and why? In order to understand Averbuch, Brik and his friend Rora—who overflows with stories of his life as a Sarajevo war photographer—retrace Averbuch’s path across Eastern Europe, through a history of pogroms and poverty, and through a present-day landscape of cheap mafiosi and cheaper prostitutes. The stories of Averbuch and Brik become inextricably entwined, augmented by the photographs that Rora takes on their journey, creating a truly original, provocative, and entertaining novel that will confirm Hemon once and for all as one of the most dynamic and essential literary voices of our time.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2008.
ISBN: 9781594489884
Characteristics: 294 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.


From Library Staff

An imaginative and ambitious novel, The Lazarus Project, begins with the a bit of Chicago history: Lazarus Averbuch, a Jewish immigrant escaped a pogrom in Kishinev in 1903 and came to Chicago only to be shot and killed by George Shippy, the Chicago chief of police in 1908 when he arrived at his ... Read More »

A 21st century Chicago writer from Bosnia grows obsessed with the 1908 death of a poor, Jewish immigrant who was shot by Chicago’s chief of police and accused of anarchism. Hemon creates a brilliant portrait of Chicago during two turn-of-the-century eras—a city of immigrants then and now.

Vladimir Brik, a Bosnian American writer living in Chicago, wins a grant to travel to Eastern Europe in search of material for the book he has been writing. His project concerns the true story of Lazarus Averbuch, a young Jewish immigrant in 1908 Chicago who was shot and killed by chief of police... Read More »

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KatSu Aug 14, 2012

Got this by mistake, was after the 'The Lazarus Phenomenon' just to see what it is about.

From what I read of this one however I would not recommend it

Jan 09, 2012

This book is hard to classify. It's a mash-up of the author's (fictionalized?) life and process doing the research about the murder of a 1900's Jewish immigrant. This isn't the easiest book to describe. Many Americans would be surprised at the life of these early immigrants and the discrimation and poverty that was part of their daily lives. I recommend this rather off-beat book for people who live historical novels.

Harriet_the_Spy Aug 16, 2010

This story is both terribly sad and terribly hopeful. It explores how immigrants can never fully understand the new culture they find themselves in, and finds redemption in the most bleak of circumstances.


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