April Fool’s Day by Josip Novakovich

Genre: historical fiction and satire. ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 3.57. ⭐️Stars from me: 4.5

April Fool’s Day is about the life of Ivan Dolinar.

The book starts with Ivan’s childhood during Tito’s times. Although a childhood during a communist regime doesn’t seem to be a good setting for a comedy, the book is often very funny in the beginning even though the humor is mainly black. Novakovich is an amazing writer. He looks deep into things and he’s able to show them to you from an angle you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. His writing is perfect. That’s why I continued reading the book even when it turned gruesome. There’s not much laughter allowed under a regime, and Ivan soon learns this for himself. Then Tito dies and the wars of ex-Yugoslavia start. Those wars were extremely scary. They were happening between neighbours, classmates, friends or even members of one family. The nature of what was going on then is conveyed really well in April Fool’s Day . That part of the book is also very well written but hard to read because of what it describes so I had to take often breaks.

The final part of the book is philosophic and even surreal although still written in the same style. The ending of the book is one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen but I don’t use the word “beautiful” and “happy” interchangeably.

The events in the book are horrifying, the protagonist is often despicable, but the book is perfectly written. In my system of values the writing is the most important so if you can go through graphic scenes for the sake of reading good literature I would definitely recommend April Fool’s Day to you.