A SHOCKING NOVEL TOLD IN FIRST PERSON, ABOUT A BOY WHO RUNS AWAY FROM A CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION IN PODRAVINA IN SEARCH FOR HIS FAMILY. WHEN HE COMES TO ZAGREB, DANTE – AS HE NAMED HIMSELF – LEARNS ABOUT THE DARKEST SIDES OF LIFE IN A BIG CITY. AT THE SAME TIME HE FINDS OUT WHAT FRIENDSHIP REALLY MEANS AND HOW HIGH THE PRICE OF LOVE IS.
Finalist of 16th Galovićeve jeseni (Fran Galović Autumn story)
Top 11 best Croatian novels in 2010 according to T-portal
Novel was published in Polish translation by Eweline Chacie and Natalie Wyszogrrodzke-Liberadzke, Miedzymorze, Gdansk, 2014
Uncompromisingly detecting socio-pathological phenomenon of the Croatian social presence unnoticeable at first sight, Tomislav Zajec relentlessly and without reserve puts in front of the reader his/her weaknesses and shortcomings by provoking in such way a few virtues – a view toward those without care, miserable, ill and lonely. Amusement park is a disturbing book which sometimes hits the rock bottom, the darkness, receptive nausea and ventriloquism.
Helena Sablić Tomić, Moderna vremena
This is a very sad book. Sad, and at the same time brutal and wonderful. A boy runs away from a correctional institution for abandoned children because he imagines that outside life is different and better; he imagines there is health, a place where he will find his mother and have a future that he dreams of. Because „the future is a thin line on a carpeted roof“ over the boy’s head, in a bus which takes 45 minutes to reach the amusement park in Zagreb.
Božidar Pavlović, Booksa
Amusement park is a really fierce and provocative, and at the same time endlessly sad, tender and romantic novel. Flashbacks in the passages printed in italics bring the main hero back to time of his stay in the correctional institution for abandoned children and brief happiness in one foster family: this happiness ended when the foster mother got pregnant and the family no longer had a place for him. Just when he hoped he had found love he stayed without it and was destined to keep on looking for it, despite the angels and social workers. This is an excellent novel.
Amusement park is another ‘world class’, ‘universal’ novel by Tomislav Zajec which enriches a dominantly autistic and prosaic Croatian literary scene, always tackling intriguing topics such as underage and pedophile sexuality. The novel shows that for instance underage prostitution does not necessarily need to be traumatic if the adult participant is not violent, and the young soul is innocent and capable of sublimation from which his true unbreakability emerges. Dante is such a character, and Dante is the warmest and the most precious character ever created by Zajec. He is a type of River Phoenix from Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho.
Damir Radić, HR Treći program (Croatian Radio)