My Parents / This Does Not Belong to You

A nonfiction book by Aleksandar Hemon.

Aleksandar Hemon

The story of Aleksandar Hemon's parents' immigration from Sarajevo to Canada and a book of short memories of the author's family, friends, and childhood in Sarajevo.

Hemon tells the story of his parents' immigration from Bosnia to Canada — of the lives that were upended in the Siege of Sarajevo and the new lives his parents were forced to build. As ever with his work, he portrays both the perfect, intimate details (his mother's lonely upbringing, his father's fanatical beekeeping) and a sweeping, heartbreaking history of his native country, from the rule of Otto von Bismarck to the massacres that shocked the world. It is a story full of many Hemons, of course — his parents, sister, uncles, cousins — and also of German occupying forces, Yugoslav communist revolutionary partisans, royalist Serb collaborators, and a few befuddled Canadians.

This Does Not Belong to You is the exhilarating, freewheeling, unabashedly personal companion to My Parents. It stands on its own, of course, a perfect shot of Hemon at his most dazzling and untempered, a series of beautifully distilled memories and observations and explosive, hilarious, heartbreaking miniatures. But it is also the perfect complement to a major work from a major writer who is about to become unignorable. (From Penguin Random House)

Interviews with Aleksander Hemon

Bosnian-American writer Aleksandar Hemon spoke with Eleanor onstage at the International Festival of Authors. His work displays a "bountiful gift for language" and blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction.
In celebration of Writers & Company's 25th anniversary season, Eleanor speaks with special guests Zadie Smith​, Aleksandar Hemon​ and ​Caryl Phillips​ ​on-stage at Toronto's International Festival of Authors.