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Salvation and Other Disasters Paperback – April 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; 1st wraps edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555972713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555972714
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,315,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For those who think of Bosnia as more than a word, and the turmoil there as more tragic than a newspaper article can convey, Salvation and Other Disasters reveals another stirring element: the Balkan tragedy as a mirror of human suffering--and an unlikely site of occasional human joy--in every nation of the world. Like those of Edgar Allan Poe and O. Henry, Novakovich's stories find the darkest ironies and give them a twist into a brutally interrogating light.

Award-winning fiction writer Novakovich is the author of several books, among them Yolk and Apricots from Chernobyl. Born in Croatia, he is now an American treasure.

From Kirkus Reviews

A varied and absorbing collection of 16 stories by the Croatian-American author of Apricots from Chernobyl (not reviewed) and Yolk (1995). The influences of Kafka, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Bruno Schulz are traceable throughout Novakovich's unsettling fiction, in which violence and death often lie just beneath ostensibly benign comic surfaces. Many of his protagonists are survivors of ``the Balkan wars'': specifically, Serbia's Yolk oppression of Croatia. ``Fritz: A Fable''--in which a dog's hatred for a cat deftly allegorizes ethnic and nationalistic enmitybrilliantly updates the beast fable, and there are irresistibly lively pictures of children's ability to thrive in even hostile environments in stories like ``Ice'' and the delightfully anecdotal ``The Devil's Celluloid Tail.'' A handful set in America memorably limn the immigrant experience (especially ``The End,'' which explores, in a densely packed 20 pages, the lingering culture shock endured by a Croatian family). The best of these pieces, which analyze the alienated states of people who regret or cannot make sense of their past allegiances, include ``Sheepskin,'' the confession of a war victim who murders the wrong man in what he thinks is an act of justified vengeance, then pursues his victim's widow; ``Rye Harvest,'' the tale of an immigrant desperately seeking security who finally reaches the US only to learn he'll be immediately deported; and ``A Free Fall,'' which describes with wonderfully mingled humor and pathos the whole arc of its disabled narrator's life, ``from sperm to worm.'' Novakovich's characters aren't just survivors; they're energetic, hopeful souls whose appetite for life is best expressed by their exuberant, playful sexuality--for which their author repeatedly finds fresh, amusing metaphors (during sex, a woman felt as though she were a computer accessory, for him to move his cursor around, or, more likely, a bit of physical to augment his virtual reality). First-rate fiction, from one of the best short-story writers of the decade. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Edward Bosnar on March 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm actually surprised at how well many of Novakovich's stories about Croatia in the early 1990s, especially "Sheepskin" and "Crimson" capture the mood and feel of life at the time, given that he has been living in the U.S. since the 1970s. These two stories in particular reflect the brutal and at times surreal atmosphere of life in wartime Croatia. Also moving are his stories that deal with various aspects of the immigrant experience in America. Novakovich is one of those writers who can really evoke a sense of time and place, I found myself haunted by many of these stories days after reading them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Salvation and Other Disasters is a selection of wonderful stories that take place mostly in and around a war-torn Croatia. Most of the stories explore the limits of human nature during war. One question the book asks is what man becomes during war. They are beautifully written, finely told stories involving love, rape, violence, death, illness, and through all of this -- always, that sensitive and alive flame that defines human consciousness. I really enjoyed this book, and recommend it to everyone, especially in today's political climate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
Hi Amazon People,
I am the author of this book. You have posted my invitation for readers to respond to me at my email address as a 0 rating! Please take that rating out because it distorts the picture.
Josip Novakovich
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book made me laugh out loud so much. There's great humor here, as well as some really good writing. I also recommend Yolk, his previous book of short stories, and his novel April Fool's Day. I just ordered his new short story collection, and if it's like what he's written so far, I can't wait.
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