Literary representations of post-1989 immigration from the former communist bloc to the US fall between the cracks of current scholarship. My paper focuses on Aleksandar Hemon’s critically acclaimed work and reads The Question of Bruno (2000), Nowhere Man (2002), and The Lazarus Project (2008) in order to shed light on his mnemonics in connection to the displacement originating from the specific socio-historical experience of life under socialism, war and the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. The juxtaposition of geographical places and time frames that characterizes his writing leads to a discussion of the “cosmopolitan” (Levy & Sznaider) and “multidirectional” memory processes (Rothberg) in his work. By analyzing Hemon’s multilayered memories about Eastern Europe’s past and present and the way he transposes them within an US American frame, I argue that his texts, written from a position of transnational shuttling across the Atlantic, revise both the Cold War paradigm and its aftermath with reference to writing Eastern Europe in American literature. I also suggest that the post-Cold War immigration processes and the articulations of memories and identities emerging from the former Eastern European bloc that Hemon’s work renders open up, in a creative and ethically engaged way, new trajectories and dialogues between Eastern Europe and the US.
- Aleksandar Hemon