In The Survival League, Gordon Nuhanović delves past Croatia’s post-war politics and focuses on its people struggling to heal old wounds and create new lives. With edgy, evocative prose, Nuhanović weaves darkly optimistic tales where nothing ever works out quite right: English lawns grow daisies instead of grass, and a romantic weekend in the mountains turns into a near-death experience. While war casts a shadow over all the characters, Nuhanović’s use of everyday events and occurrences makes The Survival League ring true in any culture. Through Nuhanović’s natural storytelling voice, we hear the stories of survivors, not only of war, but of life and its challenges. The Survival League’s humanity is universal, but a brief history of Croatia and an author’s note about the origin of each story create a firm cultural context for the English-speaking world. The book is not only an ironic glimpse into the limits of human endurance but also a lesson in modern Croatian culture. Already a hit in Croatia, The Survival League won the Society of Croatian Writers’ Nightingale Award and the Ivan and Josip Kozarac Award. The Croatian daily newspaper Jutarnji List even voted it one of the top five books of 2002. With the help of Croatia’s Ministry of Culture, Ooligan Press proudly introduces this acclaimed storyteller to the United States.
Praise for The Survival League
Existential angst from a natural story-teller’s voice which captivates the reader throughout. Each story ends in black humor, like those of the German writers after World War II, in which the struggle for survival and perfection of the characters is proved absurd at the end of each tale…like the end of each human being’s life itself. Everybody loses in the end, Gordan Nuhanović tells us in these ironically uplifting stories.
“Nuhanović places a candid camera in the spaces his characters inhabit… After a certain time period, they manage to do something crazy and unexpected, the way only real people can.”
— Vlatka Vorkapić, theater director
“Gordon Nuhanović turns the mundane upside-down and inside-out, then gives it a few diabolical twists…and makes it seem, somehow, still more familiar. It’s time for the rest of the world to abandon its deprecating stereotypes of ‘war-torn Croatia’ and recognize the unique riches—this book among them—that the reawakening country has to offer the rest of us.”
— Peter Sussman, Author of Committing Journalism: The Prison Writings of Red Hog
“An electric, ambitious, high-energy work.”
— Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Arabian Jazz and Crescent
“Gordan Nuhanović turns the mundane upside-down and inside-out, then gives it a few diabolical twists…and makes it seem, somehow, still more familiar. It’s time for the rest of the world to abandon its deprecating stereotypes of “war-torn Croatia” and recognize the unique riches—this book among them—that that reawakening country has to offer the rest of us.”
— Peter Y. Sussman, author of Committing Journalism: The Prison Writings of Red Hog