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The Making of Zombie Wars
'A raucous, hilarious book . . . deadly funny.' Chicago Magazine
Script idea #142: Aliens undercover as cabbies abduct the fiancee of the main character, who has to find a way to a remote planet to save her. Title: Love Trek.
Script idea #185: Teenager discovers his girlfriend's beloved grandfather was a guard in a Nazi death camp. The boy's grandparents are survivors, but he's tantalizingly close to achieving deflowerment, so when a Nazi-hunter arrives in town in pursuit of Grandpa, he has to distract him long enough to get laid. A riotous Holocaust comedy. Title: The Righteous Love.
Script idea #196: Rock star high out of his mind freaks out during a show, runs offstage, and is lost in streets crowded with his hallucinations. The teenage fan who finds him keeps the rock star for himself for the night. Mishaps and adventures follow. This one could be a musical: Singin' in the Brain.
Josh Levin is an aspiring screenwriter teaching ESL classes in Chicago. His laptop is full of ideas, but the only one to really take root is Zombie Wars. When Josh comes home to discover his landlord, an unhinged army vet, rifling through his dirty laundry, he decides to move in with his girlfriend, Kimmy. It's domestic bliss for a moment, but Josh becomes entangled with a student, a Bosnian woman named Ana, whose husband is jealous and violent. Disaster ensues, and as Josh's choices move from silly to profoundly absurd, Aleksandar Hemon's The Making of Zombie Wars takes on real consequence.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Dreadfully, wrigglingly, antisocially funny ... Hemon's work often crackles with humour, but it's never been this uproarious. Spectator Exhilaratingly astute. Sunday Times Hemon is remarkable for his playful, loving and endlessly generative relationship with language. Guardian [Hemon's] writing is always worthy of your time. A purse slumps on a chair "like a deflated heart, and just as full of secrets." A woman's lips are "more than full, much better than thick. Lips, like clouds, forced cliches upon you." ... Every page contains these sorts of pleasures. New York Times Book Review Hemon's writing style is as vital and rewarding as ever ... The kind of writing that pulls you in and holds you there. San Francisco Chronicle The Making of Zombie Wars doesn't have much to do with the undead, but it's a comic novel with BRAAAINS. That intellectual heft is to be expected ... But Hemon is also a master at camouflaging the deeper elements of this novel amid its tomfoolery. Washington Post A delightful ride through an ordinary life kicking into high, crazy gear. With zombies -- Carolyn Kellogg Los Angeles Times Hemon (Nowhere Man, The Lazarus Project, Love and Obstacles) mixes just the right amount of dark wit, apocalyptic foreboding and emotional insight. Seattle Times An eccentric comedy, albeit one with the same level of subtlety and resonance we're accustomed to from Hemon, a MacArthur "genius grant" winner ... The wit and intelligence of The Making of Zombie Wars should please Hemon fans and entice new readers. BookPage Brutal but darkly hilarious ... Hemon has always had a gift for humor, but he's never written anything as raucously funny and surreal as this ... Endlessly entertaining ... The Making of Zombie Wars is crazy in the best sense of the word, and very few authors could have pulled it off. National Public Radio A breezy and funny examination of what happens when a man who's "hungry for notable experiences" doesn't anticipate the consequences of acquiring those experiences. Slate A raucous, hilarious book ... deadly funny. Hemon's wry jokes come out in perfectly turned sentences. Chicago Magazine Spinozan philosophy meets screwball comedy in this eccentric, subtly experimental novel by Hemon. Publishers Weekly Droll humor has always been one weapon in MacArthur fellow and PEN/Sebald Award winner Hemon's (The Book of My Lives, 2013) mighty literary arsenal, but he hasn't unleashed the full magnitude of his comedic powers until now ... Zestfully funny. Booklist (starred review) What is exceptionally impressive about this novel is the deft control of different registers. It is like watching someone juggle with Sabatier knives. While wisecracking ... Caustic and tender, enraged and forgiving, giggly and plaintive. Scotland on Sunday [The Making of Zombie Wars] deals with a remarkable range of serious, and some less serious, topics-sex, death, family, war, the Bush Cheney years, immigration, morality, America, zombies, and the meaning of life-without ever being didactic or sententious ... What soon becomes clear is that the jokes in Hemon's novel are not just jokes, but about something larger, whether political, philosophical, or moral. Like all the best comedy, the novel makes it impossible not to sense the melancholy beneath the sullenness and absurdity. Hemon's wit prevents the novel's often emotional passages from seeming sensational or sentimental, while an intensity of feeling keeps the funny bits from appearing easy or shallow ... A troubling, mysterious, lyrical elegy to the world in which the living struggle to maintain their fragile truce with the undead. New York Review of Books It's not every day you read a novel that moves effortlessly between references to the philosopher Baruch Spinoza, eruptions of the crazed undead, a po-faced TV image of George Bush, sidewinding literary references ... The Making of Zombie Wars, the new novel from the Bosnian-American writer Aleksandar Hemon, doesn't so much move as whizz the reader from the heights of creative whimsy to the depths of human tragedy - and back again - with barely time to draw breath. Irish Times Aleksander Hemon is a gifted crafter of sentences ... a rambunctious farce that includes zombies, a lot of slapstick, comedic violence, allusions to the Bible and Spinoza, and a climactic showdown involving a stoned Desert Storm veteran and a samurai sword ... brilliant Guardian Aleksandar Hemon's The Making of Zombie Wars is one of the funniest books of the year Globe and Mail (Canada) A fast-paced, darkly comic tale set in Chicago ... ends with a transmutational flourish that is deeply and comically satisfying. Chicago Tribune