Translated from the original Finnish by David Hackston
It is April, 1995. Kosovo is a country on the cusp of a dreadful war. Arsim is twenty-two, newly married, cautious – an Albanian trying to keep his head down and finish his studies in an atmosphere of creeping threat. Until he encounters Milos, a Serb, and begins a life in secret. Bolla is the story of what happens when passion and history collide – when a relationship, already forbidden and laced with danger, is ripped apart by war and migration, separated by nations and fate. What happens when you are forced to live a life that is not yours, so far from your desires? Can the human remain?
About the Author/Translator:
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. Bolla was awarded the Finland’s highest literary honor, The Finlandia Prize, and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize in Fiction.
David Hackston is a British translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. He graduated from University College London with a degree in Scandinavian Studies and now lives in Helsinki where he works as a freelance translator.
Nominating Library’s Comments:
Albanian protagonist, Arsim, is a brilliant student and just married to his young wife. He’s also in love with a person who is wrong for him in two ways: Miloš is a man and a Serb. Violence takes Arsim over and he get punished both physically, mentally and socially.
Bolla is a phenomenal literal study of love, loneliness, passion and violence. It pictures the horrors of war and living a secret life. – Helsinki City Library, Finland