April Fool's Day
A NovelBook - 2004
Ivan Dolinar is a man caught in the crosscurrents of senseless wars, ridiculous dictators, and the usual and unusual difficulties of just trying to get by in the Balkans. His life begins, auspiciously, on April Fool's Day, 1948. As a boy growing up in a small town in Croatia, Ivan tries to love the people's dictator, Tito, but his love is not returned. In a world of propaganda and paranoia, young Ivan quickly discovers that the best of intentions can backfire. At nineteen, full of hope and ambition, he enters medical school in Novi Sad, Serbia, but his medical career is cut short by a prank, and he is sent to a notorious labor camp to dig rocks for two years. War breaks out soon after his release, and Ivan is drafted -- into the wrong army. A pawn in an absurd conflict in which rules and loyalties shift unexpectedly, Ivan finds himself in a struggle simply to survive.
From the tavern to the ivory tower to the battlefields, as Ivan's fortunes rise and fall faster than one can say "Yugoslavia," a tender novel emerges. Told with the bitingly dark humor ofttimes used to keep despair at bay, April Fool's Day is both a devastating political satire and a razor-sharp parody of war.