The Lazarus Project

I finished Aleksandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project this summer, and every now and then I can’t help but remember this one passage from near the end of the book, a long and glorious passage that is instantly familiar to anyone who’s traveled to Eastern Europe and seen a certain kind of a man and a certain kind of woman in possession of a certain kind of wealth. This is a passage describing what the narrator sees at a McDonald’s in Chisniau, Moldova. He’s talking with his traveling companion; and then:

“. . . a gigantic Toyota Cherokee, or Toyota Apache, or Toyota Some Other Exterminated People, drove up on the pavement, the tinted windows throbbing with concussive fuck-music. The rear doors flew open and there emerged a pair of legs stretched long between the high heels and the flashing groin, over which a pair of bejeweled hands pulled an insufficient skirt.”

This certain kind of woman is followed by her certain kind of man, who has “the body and the mien of a porn star, complete with pointy boots, a tenderloin breaking out of his tight jeans, and a triangular torso partially covered with an unbuttoned shirt.”

Following him is their driver, who looks like “a second-rate version of the boss” and stands “with his legs apart–a smaller pubic bulge–and scanned the crowd, his hands wedged in his armpits: should we decide to fuck with the king or disrespect the courtesan, blasts of death should come from his sweaty corners.”

“Stunning.” “Gorgeous.” “Majestic,” the front cover reads. And rightly so.

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