April Fool’s Day
Essayist and short story writer Josip Novakovich’s first novel is the life (and after-life) story of Balkan-born and bred Ivan Dolinar, who stumbles by fits and starts through the second half of the twentieth century. Growing up in Croatia, Ivan has run-ins with Tito and Indira Gandhi, his own brother and friends, medical school teachers, prison camp guards, and the brutal armies of both sides of the Serbo-Croatian conflict. After the harrowing war, he tries to go home to marry and raise a family, only to be tempted by the fleeting pleasures of the flesh, bottle, and hypochondria.
Told with verve, deadpan style and occasionally heart-stopping lyricism, this misfit’s journey through a crazy time and place is a worthwhile ride.