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Nowhere Man
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1001 book reviews > Nowhere Man by Aleksandar Hemon

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message 1: by Diane (last edited Jul 12, 2016 07:20AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 4 Stars* (barely)
Read: July 2016

Nowhere Man is a semi-autobiographical novel that tells about the coming of age of a Bosnian immigrant. There really isn't much of a plot, just a story told in vignettes. The story begins with his boyhood in Bosnia during the war, then eventually ends with his experiences as an immigrant in Chicago. The book takes place over a span of about 10 or so years. The author seemed to change directions and focus with his character frequently, so the title is very appropriate. The most amazing aspect of this book is the creativity and command of the language the author displays. He wrote this debut novel in English while he was still quite new to the language. That is really impressive since it would have been much easier for him to write it in his native language and have it translated. I look forward to reading some of his newer books to see how his writing and use of the language progresses. My favorite parts of the book were the protagonist's adolescent experiences in Europe, especially those with his rock band. The plot progressively became looser and less focused as the book progressed. If you like tidy, clear-cut endings, you will be disappointed.

*I vacillated between 3 and 4 stars. If there were half stars, I would give it a 3.5. Since there aren't, I rounded it up to a 4.

message 2: by John (new) - added it

John Seymour Diane wrote: "Rating: 4 Stars* (barely)
Read: July 2016

Nowhere Man is a semi-autobiographical novel that tells about the coming of age of a Bosnian immigrant. There really isn't much of a plot, just a story to..."

I don't remember if I got to at 2.5 or left it at 2. I was very disappointed by this story.

Amanda Dawn | 1182 comments I'm between the other 2 reviews. I finished the audio a little while ago and thought it was okay. I gave it 3 three stars. I liked the description of pre-war Sarajevo, which only makes the knowledge of the upcoming war sadder, and I identified with Pronek’s struggles as an environmental canvasser (been there myself), but I wasn’t especially blown away by the book or found something about Pronek that allowed me to really latch on to him and be deeply invested in his fate.

Also the ending, while more interesting I felt than most of the other parts of the book, didn't particularly seem to fit.

Gail (gailifer) | 1489 comments An interesting and accomplished writing style marks this book by Hermon. However, although I respect what Hermon was aiming at in terms of showing the splintering of a person dependent on perspective and although I liked the Jozef Pronek that Victor thought he loved, I found it difficult to care about the other versions although I found all their circumstances sad. Many reviews use words such as zany, endearing, and enthralling, when describing Jozef, but I just found every account / perspective to reflect a deep vulnerability and the sad confusion of not recognizing oneself in one’s surroundings. Hermon did accurately portray a Nowhere Man but I was not able to deeply care. Also, the “shadow” of a past life or another splinter that caressed his cheek and recognized the mouse clawing to get out, did not work for me either. It seemed like a touch of magical realism in a world of Eastern European gloomy blues.
I gave it 3 stars but I would like to read other works by him.

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