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.
About the Author
Josip Novakovich's stories have appeared in many publications, including The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, and Ploughshares. He teaches at Pennsylvania State University and lives near State College, Pennsylvania.
“An ambitious first novel ... The magic realism of the final sections is exemplary; Novakovich has found his groove.” — Washington Post
“[Ivan] is a fully rounded character, the type of protagonist...that we rarely find in fiction.” — Chicago Tribune
“Delightfully neurotic . . . Novakovich brings a deft touch to his ambitious and unconventional first novel.” — Columbus Dispatch
“APRIL FOOL’S DAY is a wonder...[It] has an economy of style and narrative that all good readers will relish.” — Republic of Letters
“A heartfelt novel about the war-torn Balkans that’s actually quite funny...and touching.” — GQ
“Both humorous and horrifying as it traces one man’s misadventures.” — USA Today
“Wickedly funny and deeply harrowing...Novakovich knows how to tell a story...Strange, lyrical beauty abounds here.” — Maud Casey, New York Times Book Review
“Disturbing and frequently beautiful...the novel is a Balkan conflation of Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Gogol’s DEAD SOULS, and SLAUGHERHOUSE FIVE.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune
“There are very few native-born English speakers who write as well. — Tibor Fischer, The Guardian
“[A] laugh-while-you-grimace novel...[Novakovich] writes with dark wit, and a touching sympathy.” — Newsweek International
“Rife with dark humor [and] notable for its witty reflections on politics, literature and the vicissitudes of the human heart.” — San Diego Union-Tribune
“An agreeably eccentric first novel from one of the more interesting and unusual contemporary writers.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred