Thursday, January 01, 2009

Noted: Aleksandar Hemon

From The Lazarus Project:
I used to tell stories to Mary, stories of my childhood and immigrant adventures, stories I had picked up from other people. But I had become tired of telling them, tired of listening to them. In Chicago, I had found myself longing for the Sarajevo way of doing it--Sarajevans told stories ever aware that the listeners' attention might flag, so they exaggerated and embellished and sometimes downright lied to keep it up. You listened, rapt, ready to laugh, indifferent to doubt or implausibility. There was a storytelling code of solidarity--you did not sabotage someone else's narration if it was satisfying to the audience, or you could expect one of your stories to be sabotaged one day, too. Disbelief was permanently suspended, for nobody expected truth or information, just the pleasure of being in the story and, maybe, passing it off as their own. It was different in America: the incessant perpetuation of collective fantasies makes people crave the truth and nothing but the truth--reality is the fastest American commodity.


Blackdogred said...

My favorite novel of 2008.

And to combine comments re: your year in reading - may I suggest David Harvey's Condition of Postmodernism (which you may already have read for all I know).

Richard said...

Yeah, I remember you saying so. It was your praise, plus an aside from Steve at This Space, plus possibly some other ref., that made me add it to my list (I haven't been following current fiction closely). I'm really enjoying it so far.

Thanks for the Harvey recommendation. I have not yet read that one, though I expect to. After reading The New Imperialism, I'm likely to read a lot of Harvey's books.