Honey in the Carcase by Josip Novakovich
Honey in the Carcase by Josip Novakovich
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Paperback: 160 pages
Both absurd and melancholy, Honey in the Carcase, the newest collection from award-winning Josip Novakovich, moves from scenes as familiar as a dinner party to the brutal landscapes of war-torn Southeast Europe. A man tends bees amid the bombed-out husks of his village. A young girl takes revenge for the loss of a precious life. A Yugoslav drifter finds himself at dead ends in the American heartland. A marriage splinters over a suspicious scent. A cat and a dog enact ancient enmity in the midst of a war zone. An old debt is repaid. And a boy and a juvenile hawk seem to be on a similar quest for freedom and adventure, though violence lurks in the wilds just beyond the window.
Novakovich, hailed as “one of the best short-story writers of the decade” (Kirkus Reviews), approaches each story with the signature insight, wit, and compassion that have brought him distinction as winner of the American Book Award and Whiting Writer’s Award, and a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize.
“Novakovich’s fourteen remarkable stories explore the contemporary state of alienation, both physical and emotional. ... Every story in this collection from Novakovich begins with a straightforward statement of premise, yet his prose is so balanced and apt, with not a superfluous clause or descriptor, that it always lands artfully. This is a haunting, accomplished collection.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Honey in the Carcase is Josip Novakovich's darkest and, somehow, most hopeful book yet. ... Novakovich once again ranges widely, from Denis Johnson-esque slices of Americana to utterly original tales from various war-torn villages, showing again and again how he is one of our best writers in the English language.”
“Surprises abound in Novakovich's latest collection, which covers the lives of people in Eastern Europe grappling with authoritarianism, internal conflicts, and the pressures within their own communities. ... Novakovich expertly probes the minds of the virtuous, the menacing, and the self-deluded in equal measure. ... These stories manage the impressive feat of blending gritty realism with more surreal strands, making for a gripping read.”
“Like a master painter, Josip Novakovich sets his skillful new collection, Honey in the Carcase, against a shifting background of conflict — home and the family, war and displacement, love and betrayal. The stories are at times morose and bitter, and at other times, playful and joyful ... The collection as a whole manages to feel almost like a portfolio, pulling from thin air an incredible range of techniques and intentions, but producing them all in a remarkably clear and consistent style.”
“Novakovich recalls de Maupassant, as he unpacks another swift, dark comedy of war or exile...the stories of Honey in the Carcase put the man back in his wheelhouse.”
“Novakovich’s stories are rife with brilliant and keen observations. His unique brand of moral exploration and honed wit is often coupled with horrendous acts of violence, appearing and concluding as quick as light glints off the edge of a blade. ... Reading each of the stories in Honey in the Carcase is like traveling a winding country highway at night, taking in what the headlights shine upon, never certain of what they will illuminate around the next turn.”
“Josip Novakovich is a writer of great skill, who possess an uncommon way with wit and calamity.”
—Aminatta Forna, author of Memory of Love and Happiness
“For more than two decades, Josip Novakovich has been an unflinching and unsentimental observer of the cruelty that one human can afflict on another, penning strange but fully recognizable stories and essays about such bleak topics as nationalism, war, and genocide. Novakovich has always balanced misery with a lightness, with a sense of humor and irony that Italo Calvino says we need to lift us up above the 'weight of living.' Novakovich’s illuminating new collection, Honey in the Carcase, extends these concerns in a way that speaks to our present moment, when so much of the world seems to be burning.”
—Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Song of the Shank and Rails Under My Back
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JOSIP NOVAKOVICH is a Croatian-American writer who resides in Canada. His work has been translated into Croatian, Bulgarian, Indonesian, Russian, Japanese, Italian, and French, among other languages. He was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize in 2013 and also received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the Whiting Writer’s Award, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for Fiction, as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Threepenny, Ploughshares, and many other journals, and has been anthologized in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize, and O. Henry Prize Stories. He teaches English at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.