Josip Novakovich’s Vignettes offers a wide-ranging look at his life, including his youth in hometown Daruvar, Croatia where he attended school in a castle on a hill with barrels of whites and reds stored in the basement, “my peers and I learned the basics of math, grammar, history, and literature, somewhat dizzy and fumigated in wine vapors that seeped upward through the oiled oak floors.”
Over the course of seventeen short stories, Novakovich traces his relationship with wine: “Wine may have a lot to do with my interest in literature, or it may be the other way around—I am not sure which came first, those vapors, or the stories involving wine? And so, a bit of wine, in a small glass, a bit of truth, in a few lines.”
Josip Novakovich has published a dozen books, including a novel, April Fool's Day (in ten languages), four story collections (Infidelities, Yolk, Salvation and Other Disasters, and Heritage of Smoke), three collections of narrative essays, and two books of practical criticism. His work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize, and O. Henry Prize Stories. He has received the Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Ingram Merrill Award, and an American Book Award. In 2013 he was a Man Booker International Award finalist. Kirkus Reviews called Novakovich, "the best American short stories writer of the decade" He teaches creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal.
Weddings, wars, family and friends, the search for place and belonging, these are a few of the many enchanting pieces in this book. There is no missing link in these vignettes, as the author notes in his preface. In rare form, Novakovich serves the daily wine in these pieces, and he does so with great verve and often subtle humor, the humor, dare I say of someone who has loosened the tongue by drinking an entire bottle. It is not easy to quit booze, the author notes, but with these masterful bits, the reader is in a for real treat. in their delivery and in total these short pieces the writer delights us with the prowess of a writer whose idiom traverses genres and borders. The elixir is a unifying force that connects us to history and place, soberingly poignant and beautiful. Memorable and energized. Have a drink, have two, join me in raising a glass to this casque of delicious celebration of a writer’s life and say, Salud! - Author, Virgil Suarez
WHEN I BECAME NEVER retraces the story of a family that cannot escape its blood. A stand alone thriller that complements the author's preceding novel, INHALED, WHEN I BECAME NEVER shows how many shapes revenge can take, and that, more often than not, it fails as much as it entices us.
In Spain's never ending turmoil, Alberto Rogriguez will plant a seed whose emptiness will find its way to Nicaragua and America. It will destroy the only thing it covets—pure acceptance––a want that swims inside the belly of women who will suffer, surrender ... and seek revenge.