Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust by Josip NovakovichInfidelities: Stories of War and Lust by Josip Novakovich

Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust

byJosip Novakovich

Paperback | September 20, 2005

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Tragicomedy of the highest order, this stellar collection is Croatian writer Novakovich's best ever.

Hailed as one of the best short story writers of the 1990s, Josip Novakovich was praised by the New York Times for writing fiction that has "the crackle of authenticity, like the bite of breaking glass." In his new collection, he explores a war–torn Balkan world in which a schoolchild's innocence evaporates in a puff of cannon smoke, lust replaces love, and the joy of survival overrides all other pleasures.

As Serb, Croat, and Bosnian Muslim armies clash in the cities and countryside of the former Yugoslavia, it's hard to tell the front lines from the home front. The characters in Infidelities––soldiers and civilians alike––are caught in the ridiculous, often cruelly whimsical contradictions of war and the paranoia and folly of those who conduct it. In "Ribs," a Croatian woman whose husband has already been taken by the war will go to any length to keep her son out of the army, including sleeping with the draft officer, a tryst that leads to an unexpected, and disturbing, spiritual vision. A Buddhist soldier in the Bosnian Muslim military isly accused of being an informer to the enemy Serbs after his detachment ambushes itself in "Hail." A draft dodger is in the hospital for a transplant, in "A Purple Heart," when a high–ranking Croatian general steals the heart for himself (and dies) while the dodger suddenly discovers a new thirst for life. In "Spleen," a Bosnian émigré in America learns that even in the throes of passion she cannot find release from the haunting memories of her homeland.

These stories cover a broad sweep of time, reaching back to the first shots of World War I in Sarajevo and forward to the plight of Balkan immigrants in contemporary America. Throughout, acts of compassion, gallows humour, even desire arise from a landscape devastated by tragedy.

Tragicomedy of the highest order, this stellar collection is Croatian writer Novakovich's best ever. Hailed as one of the best short story writers of the 1990s, Josip Novakovich was praised by the New York Times for writing fiction that has "the crackle of authenticity, like the bite of breaking glass." In his new collection, he explor...
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Title:Infidelities: Stories of War and LustFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.61 inPublished:September 20, 2005Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060583991

ISBN - 13:9780060583996

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic collection As a writer, Novakovich evokes a sense of time and place; however, he reads a bit disjointed when it comes to characterizations. He puts forth plausible personalities which come off as perfunctory since he rarely delves into them. There are some great setups here and interesting, sometimes invaluable insights via internalizing. The frustration is that these insights are not fruitful. They may be rueful, reminiscent, or infectious; but Novakovich leaves them too open which disables closure. I read these stories in awe of the pacing and prose, but that did not compensate for my longing underlain in each narrative. I wanted to see these characters conclude via comeuppance or conveyance (re: motives).
Date published: 2018-05-16

Editorial Reviews

“Novakovich has perfected the grand style of the Continental anecdote, with its...retrospection [that] falls prey to irony.”