From literary powerhouse Aleksandar Hemon, author of The Lazarus Project, comes a big, brilliant, sweeping novel of love, memory, and history-in-the-making.
As the Archduke Franz Ferdinand arrives in Sarajevo on a sunny June day in 1914, Rafael Pinto is busy crushing herbs and grinding tablets behind the counter at the pharmacy he inherited from his estimable father. It’s not quite the life he had expected during his poetry -filled student days in sophisticated, libertine Vienna—but it’s nothing a dash of laudanum from the high shelf, a summer stroll, and idle fantasies about passersby can’t help.
And then the world explodes. War devours all that they have known, and the only thing Pinto has to live for are the attentions and affection of Osman, a fellow soldier, a man of action to complement Pinto’s introspective, poetic soul; a dapper, charismatic storyteller; Pinto’s protector and his lover.
Together, Pinto and Osman will escape the trenches, survive near-certain death and imprisonment, tangle with spies and Bolsheviks. Over mountains and across deserts, from one world to another, it is Pinto’s love for Osman—with the occasional opiatic interlude—that keeps him going.
The World and All That It Holds—in all its hilarious, heartbreaking, erotic, whimsical, philosophical glory—showcases Hemon’s celebrated talent at its pinnacle and cements him as one of the boldest voices of our time.