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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Making of Zombie Wars (2015) by Alexsandar Hemon

Book Review
The Making of Zombie Wars (2015)
 by Alexsandar Hemon

  I read The Making of Zombie Wars  under the mistaken assumption that it was another effort by an author of literary fiction to write a work of genre fiction.  Hemon is one of the most well regarded young authors in American fiction, with a string of prize winning and nominated books.  A Bosnian immigrant, Hemon has drawn comparisons to Conrad and Nabokov, and is acclaimed as a prose stylist.   The Making of Zombie Wars represents a change in tone for Hemon, who is known for his existentialist protagonists and books that dwell on the impact of immigration and dislocation on the life experience of his characters.

  Joshua Levin, the would-be screenwriter at the heart of The Making of Zombie Wars, is not an immigrant, but he works as a teacher of English as a second language, which brings him to the orbit of typically Hemonian characters: Immigrants from the former Yugoslavia who are adopting to life in the west with varying degrees of success.  I'm not wholly unfamiliar with this world- one of my college era friends was a Croatian immigrant from St Louis, and I always admired the combination of European world-weariness and Midwestern enthusiasm that characterized her behavior back then.  I recognize her in Hemon's milieu.

  The Making of Zombie Wars is rude and occasionally funny.  I'm not sure that slapstick is Hemon's best move, but it increases the likelihood of him scoring a mass market hit a la a Chuck Palahnuik. 

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