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The World and All That It Holds: A Novel

The World and All That It Holds: A Novel

by Aleksandar Hemon
The World and All That It Holds: A Novel

The World and All That It Holds: A Novel

by Aleksandar Hemon


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Listen to Aleksandar Hemon in conversation about The World and All That It Holds on Poured Over: The B&N Podcast.

Check out The Best Historical Fiction Books to Read Right Now on our blog, B&N Reads, here.


Notes From Your Bookseller

One for the philosopher, The World and All That It Holds is Aleksandar Hemon at his finest. Spanning decades and continents, this story contains multitudes, making it perfect for lovers of fiction (especially historical fiction) to pick up. At its core is an examination of love of all kinds, but this book is so much more, exploring history, philosophy, and death in a hilarious and heartbreaking way. A modern classic.

The World and All That It Holds—in all its hilarious, heartbreaking, erotic, philosophical glory—showcases Aleksandar Hemon’s celebrated talent at its pinnacle. It is a grand, tender, sweeping story that spans decades and continents. It cements Hemon as one of the boldest voices in fiction.

As the Archduke Franz Ferdinand arrives in Sarajevo one 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 libertine Vienna, but it’s nothing a dash of laudanum from the high shelf, a summer stroll, and idle fantasies about passersby can’t put in perspective.

And then the world explodes. In the trenches in Galicia, fantasies fall flat. Heroism gets a man killed quickly. War devours all that they have known, and the only thing Pinto has to live for are the attentions of Osman, a fellow soldier, a man of action to complement Pinto’s introspective, poetic soul; a charismatic storyteller; Pinto’s protector and lover.

Together, Pinto and Osman will escape the trenches, survive near-certain death, tangle with spies and Bolsheviks. Over mountains and across deserts, from one world to another, all the way to Shanghai, it is Pinto’s love for Osman—with the occasional opiatic interlude—that keeps him going.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374287702
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 01/24/2023
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 33,827
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times bestseller, along with several books of short stories—The Question of Bruno; Nowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Love and Obstacles; and the novel The Making of Zombie Wars. He has also written the essay volumes The Book of My Lives and My Parents/This Does Not Belong to You. Among other accolades, he has received a "genius" grant from the MacArthur Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award for a Writer in Mid-Career, and the 2020 John Dos Passos Prize. He cowrote the script for The Matrix Resurrections and produces music as Cielo Hemon. He teaches at Princeton University.

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