On 2 March 1908, nineteen-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, a Russian Jewish immigrant to Chicago, tried to deliver a letter to the home of the city's Chief of Police, George Shippy. Instead of taking the letter, Shippy shot Averbuch twice, killing him. Lazarus Averbuch, Shippy claimed, was an anarchist assassin and an agent of foreign operatives who wanted to bring the United States to its knees. His sister, Olga, was left alone and bereft in a city - and country - seething with political and ethnic tensions. In the twenty-first century, Brik, a young Bosnian writer in Chicago, becomes obsessed with finding out the truth of what happened to Lazarus. And so Brik and his friend Rora, a charming and unreliable photographer, set off on a journey back to Lazarus Averbuch's birthplace, through a history of pogroms and poverty and a present of gangsters and prostitutes. 'Masterful . . . troubling, funny and redemptive . . . ingenious . . . Hemon is as much a writer of the senses as of the intellect. He can be very funny: the novel is full of jokes and linguistic riffs that justify comparisons to Nabokov' Washington Post 'The fearless and spirited expression of a turbulent literary talent . . . For all Hemon's nods to other writers -- one catches glimpses not only of Nabokov and Sebald but of Bulgakov, Pamuk, Amis, Poe -- he is entirely his own man, an original who owes no debts to anyone' Patrick McGrath, Book Forum 'Profoundly moving . . . A literary page-turner that combines narrative momentum with meditations on identity and mortality' Kirkus

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