Book Review

The World and All That it Holds: Fascinating novel a powerful exploration of love, memory and war

Aleksandar Hemon’s tale begins at the outbreak of WWI and, amid the horror of that conflict, the author explores the intriguing relationship between storytelling and history

Aleksandar Hemon: Curious about the relationship between storytelling and history. Picture: Martin Hunter

Aleksandar Hemon’s fascinating new book is all about stories, including the ones we tell ourselves. Are we the protagonist of our own lives, or merely puppets of a greater force that might abandon us on a whim? It also concerns the stories we tell others, in order to win, woo or just survive.

The World and All That It Holds opens in Sarajevo, June 1914. Rafael Pinto, a poetry-loving apothecary and opiate enthusiast (“the Lord ...