My Cat Yugoslavia
My Cat Yugoslavia
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A love story about what it means to be an outsider from the most imaginative new voice in international fiction.
In 1980s Yugoslavia, a young Muslim girl is married off to a man she hardly knows, but what was meant to be a happy match goes quickly wrong. Soon thereafter her country is torn apart by war and she and her family flee. Years later, her son, Bekim, grows up a social outcast in present-day Finland, not just an immigrant in a country suspicious of foreigners, but a gay man in an unaccepting society. Aside from casual hookups, his only friend is a boa constrictor whom, improbably–he is terrified of snakes–he lets roam his apartment. Then, during a visit to a gay bar, Bekim meets a talking cat who moves in with him and his snake. It is this witty, charming, manipulative creature who starts Bekim on a journey back to Kosovo to confront his demons and make sense of the magical, cruel, incredible history of his family. And it is this that, in turn, enables him finally, to open himself to true love–which he will find in the most unexpected place.
PAJTIM STATOVCI was born in Kosovo to Albanian parents in 1990. His family fled the Yugoslav wars and moved to Finland when he was two years old. He holds an MA in comparative literature and is a PhD candidate at the University of Helsinki. His first book, My Cat Yugoslavia, won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize for best debut novel; his second novel, Crossing, was a finalist for the National Book Award; and Bolla was awarded Finland’s highest literary honor, The Finlandia Prize. In 2018, he received the Helsinki Writer of the Year Award.