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The Lazarus Project

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In 1908, a young Eastern European immigrant named Lazarus Averbuch was shot to death when he knocked on the door of Chicago police chief George Shippy. Shippy issued a statement accusing Averbuch of being an assassin. The event 100 years ago was the inspiration for Chicago writer Aleksander Hemon's new novel, The Lazarus Project.

In the book, another Eastern European immigrant living in present-day Chicago becomes obsessed with Averbuch's story. Brick is a writer who's researching Averbuch, trying to figure out why he came to the chief's door that fateful day. Traveling through Europe with photographer and childhood friend Rora, Brick also tries to make sense of the war in the former Yugoslavia—and of the current war in Iraq. In order to write the novel, author and Bosnian ex-patriot Hemon also traveled through Europe with a childhood friend named Velibor. More than a few other details from Hemon's life parallel Brick's. But when Hemon spoke recently with Eight Forty-Eight Alison Cuddy, he made clear that The Lazarus Project is more imagined than autobiographical—right down to the trip abroad.

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