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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Croatian-born Novakovich brings to life the woeful, confused, and distressing legacy of the Balkan wars, a part of recent history largely ignored by much of the American public. His style is unsparing, as are the themes he addresses: ethnic hatred, vengeance, forgiveness, faith, and love.
As Croat, Serb, and Bosnian regiments battle for control of the territory once known as Yugoslavia, ordinary citizens find themselves forced to make moral choices in an environment growing murkier by the day. In "A Purple Story," narrator Ranko shares a hospital room with the future donor for his heart transplant and decides to encourage his new friend to live. "Ribs" introduces a frightened but resilient young widow who will do anything to avoid losing her son to the war that claimed her husband, a choice that lands her in a twilight existence where the living and the dead are inexorably intertwined. A Serb and Croat couple struggle to embrace their community and each other in "Neighbors," and in "Snow Powder," a lonely boy, too young to understand the consequences of his actions, is both exploited and mentored by the enemies of his own people.
Most remarkable about these stories is the way in which compassion and even humor shine through the darkest adversity. In his masterful work of fiction, Josip Novakovich offers readers a tribute to the human spirit. (Holiday 2005 Selection)