Queens College Evening Readings present
Aleksandar Hemon, Norman Manea & Gary Shteyngart
in conversation with Leonard Lopate
ALEKSANDAR HEMON is the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award-winning author of the collections of stories The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, and Love and Obstacles, the novel The Lazarus Project, and the memoir The Book of My Lives, which is forthcoming in the spring of 2013. The New York Times Book Review has said of Aleksandar Hemon: “Not just…extraordinary [work] but an extraordinary writer: one who seems not simply gifted but necessary.” James Wood, writing in The New Yorker, has said: “Hemon’s writing sometimes reminds one of Nabakov’s…yet the feat of his reinvention exceeds the Russian’s…. Magnificent…appealing…. An astonishing talent.” Gary Shteyngart, writing in The New York Times Book Review, has said: “Antic and ingenious…. Hemon can’t write a boring sentence, and the English language (which he adopted at a late age) is the richer for it.” The San Francisco Chronicle has said: “[Hemon is] a virtuoso linguist, stylist and social observer…. Deeply human, totally irresistible and often hilarious.” The Los Angeles Times has said: “…Hemon [has] proved himself as inventive as Nabokov or Salman Rushdie…the kind of bold talent that doesn’t come around very often…nearly every sentence is infused with energy and wit…. A true original.”
NORMAN MANEA is the National Jewish Book Award-winning author of several works of fiction that have been translated into English, including October, Eight O’Clock, Compulsory Happiness, The Black Envelope, and The Lair, as well as the collections of essays On Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist and The Fifth Impossibility, and the memoir The Hooligan’s Return. The Wall Street Journal has said: “Approaching his themes from oblique and unexpectedly illuminating angles, Manea poignantly conveys the slow shock of being awakened from the Nazi terror only to find yourself still trapped in the bad dream of Communism.” Cynthia Ozick has said: “[Manea’s work] is less about the daily despotism it defies than it is about a heroic psyche dedicated to internal freedom….The work of a masterly artist.” The San Francisco Chronicle has said: “Mature, difficult, rich in irony and paradox…. The Hooligan’s Return…may well rank among the finest memoirs in a generation.” The New York Times Book Review has said: “The reader becomes absorbed at once. The background is dreamlike but terribly familiar…. Manea’s prose treads the edge of the poetry of nightmare.” Heinrich Boll has said: “Without any doubt, of all contemporary writers Norman Manea is the one who most deserves being known around the world.”
GARY SHTEYNGART is the National Jewish Book Award-winning author of the novels The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story. The Washington Post has said: “Shteyngart’s most trenchant satire depicts the inane, hyper-sexualized culture that connects everybody even while destroying any actual community or intimacy. This may be the only time I’ve wanted to stand up on the subway and read passages of a book out loud.” Aleksandar Hemon has said: “Absurdistan is not just a hilarious novel, but also a record of a particular peak in the history of human folly. No one is more capable of dealing with the transition from the hell of socialism to the hell of capitalism in Eastern Europe than Shteyngart, the great-great-grandson of one Nikolai Gogol and the funniest foreigner alive.” NPR has said: “[Super Sad True Love Story] deserves a place on the shelf beside 1984 and Brave New World…a novel more immediate—and thus more frightening…than…Orwell, Huxley and Atwood.” Michiko Kakutani, writing in The New York Times, has described Mr. Shteyngart’s work as “combining…the tenderness of the Chekhovian tradition with the hormonal high jinks of a Judd Apatow movie…. [Shteyngart is] one of his generation’s most original and exhilarating writers.”
In addition to reading from their work, Aleksandar Hemon, Norman Manea, and Gary Shteyngart will be interviewed by Leonard Lopate.