Montecore by Jonas Hassen Khemiri

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With the publication of Montecore, Jonas Khemiri will no doubt win comparisons to Diaz; unfortunately, for all of his novel's shiny efforts, its flat effects suggest he'd be on the losing end.
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

At the start of this dazzlingly inventive novel from Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Abbas, a world-famous photographer and estranged father to a young novelist—also named Jonas Hassen Khemiri—is standing on a luxurious rooftop terrace in New York City. He is surrounded by rock stars, intellectuals, and political luminaries gathered to toast his fiftieth birthday. And yet how did Abbas, a dirt-poor Tunisian orphan and Swedish émigré, come to enjoy such success?

Jonas is fresh off the publication of his first novel when answers to this question come in the form of an unexpected e-mail from Kadir, a lifelong friend of Abbas and an effervescent storyteller with delightfully anarchic linguistic idiosyncrasies. The portrait Kadir paints of Abbas—from a voluntarily mute boy who suffers constant night terrors, to a soulful young charmer, to a Swedish immigrant and political exile—proves to be vastly different from Jonas’s view of his father. As the two jagged versions reconcile in Kadir and Jonas’s impassioned correspondence, we’re given a portrayal of a man that is at once tender and feverishly imagined.

With an arresting blend of humor and wit, Montecore marks the stateside arrival of an already acclaimed international novelist. Winner of the PO Enquist Literary Prize for accomplished European novelists under forty, Jonas Hassen Khemiri has created a world that is as heartbreaking as it is exhilarating.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Jonas Hassen Khemiri

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Jonas Hassen Khemiri, born in Sweden in 1978, is the author of two novels and one collection of plays and short stories. His first novel, One Eye Red, received the Boras Tidning Award for best literary debut. His second, Montecore, won several literary awards including the Swedish Radio Award for best novel of the year. Khemiri has also received the PO Enquist Literary Prize for the most promising young European writer. He currently divides his time between Stockholm and Berlin.
 
Published March 1, 2011 by Knopf. 337 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Montecore
All: 1 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 1

Globe and Mail

Below average
Reviewed by Randy Boyagoda on Aug 23 2012

With the publication of Montecore, Jonas Khemiri will no doubt win comparisons to Diaz; unfortunately, for all of his novel's shiny efforts, its flat effects suggest he'd be on the losing end.

Read Full Review of Montecore | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

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