All three of Aleksandar Hemon's books of fiction are smeared with violence, squalor, Sarajevo, and America. The Lazarus Project, Hemon's newest novel, is about two Eastern European men, separated by nearly a century but brought together by a collection of odd, beautiful photographs. Hemon writes life into even incidental characters. In one diner scene, he gives us hope and STDs, served over eggs: A businessman has a gait "suggesting a sore groin" and two prostitutes "savor... the sunny, pimpless morning." (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 8 pm, free.)

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