books in english

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Cruel Summer

 

A novel published in Croatian as Okrutno ljeto by Dvostruka duga, Čakovec, 2014, ISBN 978-953-287-154-8. Unpublished in English. 

 

Seventeen-year-old Michael Daniels is guilty. Or at least the FBI thinks so. He is being held captive in a large prison called New York City. Two of his closest friends – Alien and Victor – also think he's gulity, but despite their doubts, they remain his partners in crime.

 

In a society where people will do anything for power and influence, and others will do what it takes to survive, a group of skateboarders from New Manhattan strive to live normally among the chaos of NYC. They ignore the oppressive effects of climate change while boldly confronting the brutal, bloody murder that turned their lives upside down. Michael's best friends Alien and Victor set off in pursuit of the truth in order to prove Michael's innocence, hiding a secret that could seal their time of innocence, and like an earthquake, shake the very foundations of a new American and world order.

 

Cruel Summer is a novel about a teenager named Michael Daniels who lives on New Manhattan at the end of millennium, where child prostitution blooms and human experimentation is hidden yet seemingly common practice. There is only one ray of light in his life ever since his mother died – his dream to enter professional skateboarding contests. It is precisely this dream that guides him through his life and gives him strength to endure the abuse and mind games bestowed upon him by his stepfather for almost as long as he remembers. 

A World Without Color

 

A novella published in English by Bernard Jan, Zagreb, 2017. Kindle Edition, July 1, 2017, ASIN: B071FTK9HV, ISBN: 978-953-59581-0-9. Paperback, September 13, 2017, ISBN: 978-953-59581-1-6.

 

Originally published  in Croatian as Svijet bez boja by Epifanija, Zagreb, 2008, ISBN 978-953-7077-08-2. 

One story. Two endings. Genuine and fictional. Which ending is yours? 

 

What do you say to someone who is dying? And what do you say when that someone can't understand a word you are saying? How do you comfort each other throughout... and beyond?

My love, if you go away in a few days, the world will lose its colors and darken like the land of Mordor. If you go away and leave me to wander aimlessly, alone in this sea become wild, like a ship with a broken rudder and drowned sailors, and if I don't find comfort in the warmth of your body, clutched in my embrace at the end of the day, I'm afraid I won't survive.  
 

"I don't regret anything. Marcel was not only my cat, he was my everything. My brother, my friend, my world shrank in a soft gray-striped furry ball."—Bernard Jan

Powerful. Emotional. Honest. A heartfelt and moving novella.

Translated into English by Bernard Jan
Editing and proofreading by Philip Newey, Thomas Carley Jr. and Kath Middleton
Cover design by Mario Kožar MKM Media
Cover photo by Zach Singh

 

Look for Me Under the Rainbow

 

A novella published in English by Bernard Jan, Zagreb, 2018. Kindle Edition, April 15, 2018, ASIN: B07C7JGMNG, ISBN: 978-953-59581-2-3. Paperback, May 9, 2018, ISBN: 978-953-59581-3-0. First published by Minerva Press, London, 1998, ISBN 1-86106-831-X.

 

Originally published in Croatian as Potraži me ispod duge by Naklada Slon, Zagreb, 1993, ISBN 953-6203-01-4; Genesis, Zagreb, 2004, ISBN 953-6785-23-4 ; Katarina Zrinski, Varaždin, 2008, ISBN 978-953-236-160-5 and Katarina Zrinski, Varaždin, 2015, ISBN 978-953-236-241-1.

Sometimes all you need is a big heart and burning desire.

Danny, a curious harp seal pup, has soft white fur and black innocent eyes. Helen is an environmentalist and member of a young activist crew of the Rainbow Warriors. Their mission is to save animals.

 

As winter turns into spring, a new generation of seal pups comes to life. A few weeks later, the killing begins. Against a spectacular backdrop of ice and snow, Helen prepares to look horrific human cruelty in the face.

 

I do not doubt I have a big heart and burning desire, but is that enough for a person to become a Rainbow Warrior, or is there something better? Something only some of us manage to turn into what we have long missed—humanity.

In the race against time and clubs, will Helen save Danny before the hunt begins and the ice turns red?

Though written for younger readers, Look for Me Under the Rainbow will appeal to anyone who cherishes our beautiful planet and wishes to protect its treasures.

 

Buy this book by Bernard Jan, the author of A World Without Color, and experience another emotional journey.

In Croatia the novella Look for Me Under the Rainbow is listed in a program for elementary schools as a reading of choice for seventh graders.

January River

 

A novel originally published in Croatian as January River by Epifanija, Zagreb, 2007, ISBN 978-953-7077-07-5 J. Unpublished in English.

 

When the body of their best friend, Derrick Zachariah, is found in the bushes along the January River, everything comes crashing down for Ethan and William McCoy, Jason Hawk, and Derrick’s sister Sarah in their idyllic small town in the southwest of Nebraska. Derrick’s sudden death completely changes their lives. Living in the tame and peaceful Greenfield with a secret becomes very hard, and almost unbearable for some of them. Things get worse for Ethan and his brother William after someone poisons Ethan’s golden retriever, the dog Ethan saved from near death when he found him on the banks of January River the previous winter.

 

A few years later, when he has reached adulthood, William leaves Greenfield in search for a better, different life. It doesn’t take too long before Ethan follows the footsteps of his older brother and also leaves his hometown. He goes to New York City to visit Will, with hope to find solace, forgiveness and liberation from the ghosts of his boyhood. Instead, Ethan meets, falls in love and marries Susan Dupie, a successful editor of New York’s prestigious magazine, A Way of Life. Susan also falls in love, not only with him but with his writing too, and helps him become a best-selling author.

 

But it is never quite that easy and Ethan’s idyllic life is shattered again by Susan’s illness. Only after Susan succumbs to leukemia does Ethan muster enough courage to return to Greenfield and after more than twenty years reveals the truth about Derrick’s death to his sister Sarah.

 

Some things are better left untold, but the dark secret in Ethan’s heart lying buried in the silent waters of the January River is not meant to remain a secret forever. 

Postcards From Beyond Reality - Michael Daniels’ Selected Poems

 

Originally published in Croatian as Razglednice s one strane stvarnosti - Odabrane pjesme Michaela Danielsa by Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti, Forum, mjesečnik razreda za književnost Hrvatske akademie znanosti i umjetnosti, Year XXXXII. Book LXXIV. No. 1-3. Zagreb, Spring 2003, ISSN 0015-8445. Unpublished in English. 

 

In a cocktail of melancholy, sorrow, hunger, desire and a love for life, Michael Daniels’ poetry is a fine mixture of Rimbaud’s, Shakespeare’s, and Jim Carroll’s. While giving a nod to these great poetic role models, Daniels’ poetry remains peculair, recognizable and unique.
 
Daniels’ poetry is full of images and symbolism; for some readers it may be too dark or even too brutal. But one should always keep in mind the traumatic experiences in which it was created. (For example, many years of abuse and blackmail by his stepfather, a failed relationship with his girlfriend, the death of his mother.) Having this in mind, Michaels’ poetry, despite his personal good, cheerful and generous nature, is raw, cruel, dark and rough. Sitting opposite this work, however, are his other poems that are delicate, gentle, emotional, nostalgic, dreamy and filled with inexhaustible source of love for his mother, friends, life in general, and especially for skateboarding. Between these two extremes, one can find a few romantically-themed poems.

 

How can we characterize and summarize Daniels’ poetry in one word? The avant-garde? Extravagant? Alternative? Underground? It is difficult to pinpoint the exact word, as his poetry encompasses all of these descriptors. 

 

Michael Daniels is the main character in Bernard Jan's novel Cruel Summer. With the Daniels’ sister’s blessing, Jan has chosen about sixty of Michael’s poems to present in the collection of selected poems titled Postcards From Beyond Reality.

      © 2015-2019 By Bernard Jan   |   Author, novelist and poet