April Fool’s Day
Ivan Dolinar is born in Tito’s Yugoslavia on April Fool’s Day, 1948 — the auspicious beginning of a life that will be derailed by backfiring good intentions in a world of propaganda and paranoia. At age nineteen, an innocent prank cuts the young Croatian’s budding medical career short and lands him in a notorious labor camp. Released on the eve of civil war, Ivan is drafted into the wrong army, becoming a pawn in an absurd conflict in which the rules and loyalties shift abruptly and without warning. But even in a world gone mad, one course of action remains eminently sane: survival.
Told with bitingly dark humor and a deep tenderness, April Fool’s Day is both a devastating political satire and a razor-sharp parody of war.
“An ambitious first novel … The magic realism of the final sections is exemplary; Novakovich has found his groove.” “[Ivan] is a fully rounded character, the type of protagonist…that we rarely find in fiction.” “Delightfully neurotic . . . Novakovich brings a deft touch to his ambitious and unconventional first novel.” “APRIL FOOL’S DAY is a wonder…[It] has an economy of style and narrative that all good readers will relish.” “A heartfelt novel about the war-torn Balkans that’s actually quite funny…and touching.” “Both humorous and horrifying as it traces one man’s misadventures.” “Wickedly funny and deeply harrowing…Novakovich knows how to tell a story…Strange, lyrical beauty abounds here.” “Disturbing and frequently beautiful…the novel is a Balkan conflation of Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Gogol’s DEAD SOULS, and SLAUGHERHOUSE FIVE.” “There are very few native-born English speakers who write as well. “[A] laugh-while-you-grimace novel…[Novakovich] writes with dark wit, and a touching sympathy.” “Rife with dark humor [and] notable for its witty reflections on politics, literature and the vicissitudes of the human heart.” “An agreeably eccentric first novel from one of the more interesting and unusual contemporary writers.”
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