We knew he was good, but did we know he was this good? The Bosnian-born, Chicago-based author of “The Question of Bruno,” “Nowhere Man” and last year’s National Book Award-finalist “The Lazarus Project”—a staggering work, indeed—returns, rather quickly, with “Love and Obstacles,” a book of short stories that sees its release this week. A collection of eight tales with a linking narrator-yes, a man who immigrated from Yugoslavia to the United States-the book moves chronologically as Hemon’s unique use of prose paints a picture of man who’s path to adulthood cuts through stirring and unsettling world politics. Some of these stories have already appeared in The New Yorker; some see publication for the first time in this assembly. The speedy arrival of “Love and Obstacles” after the praise heaped upon “Lazarus” indicates Hemon’s willingness to become the face of the current Chicago literary scene, and right now, I don’t think we could ask for a better representative. (Tom Lynch)
Aleksandar Hemon discusses “Love and Obstacles” May 17 at Book Cellar, 4736-38 N. Lincoln, (773)293-2665, at 3pm. Free.