Aleksandar Hemon earned his reputation - and his MacArthur "genius grant" - for his short stories, and he returns to the form with a powerful collection of linked stories that stands with The Lazarus Project as the best work of his celebrated career. A few of the stories have never been published before; the others have appeared in The New Yorker, and several of those have also been included in The Best American Short Stories. All are infused with the dazzling, astonishingly creative prose and the remarkable, haunting autobiographical elements that have distinguished Hemon as one of the most original and illustrious voices of our time. What links the stories in Love and Obstacles is the narrator, a young man who - like Hemon himself - was raised in Yugoslavia and immigrated to the United States. The stories of Love and Obstacles are about that coming of age and the complications - the obstacles - of growing up in a Communist but cosmopolitan country, and the disintegration of that country and the consequent uprooting and move to America in young adulthood. But because it's Aleksandar Hemon, the stories extend far beyond the immigrant experience; each one is punctuated with unexpected humor and spins out in fabulist, exhilarating directions, ultimately building to an insightful, often heartbreaking conclusion. Woven together, these stories comprise a book that is, genuinely, as cohesive and powerful as any fiction - achingly human, charming, and inviting.
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