Statovci
2019 Longlist

My Cat Yugoslavia

Translated from the Finnish by David Hackston
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

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, and what was meant to be a happy match quickly goes wrong. Shortly thereafter, the country is torn apart by war and she and her family flee to Finland, where her son Bekim grows up to become a social outcast-not just an immigrant in a country suspicious of foreigners but also a gay man in an unaccepting society. Aside from casual hookups, his only companion is a boa constrictor that, improbably (he is terrified of snakes), he lets roam around his apartment.

Then one night, at a gay bar, Bekim meets a talking cat, who also moves in with him. 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 this, in turn, enables Bekim finally to open himself to true love-which he will find in the most unexpected place. A love story about what it means to be an outsider from the most imaginative new voice in international fiction.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Pajtim
Statovci

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.

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.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR David
Hackston

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.

 

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 COMMENTS

Wonderful writing in this first novel from Pajtim Statovci who moved to Finland from Kosovo when he was a small child. This book is published also in New York by Pantheon.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/01/2014
Country
Serbia
Original Language
Serbian
Publisher
Pushkin Press
Translator
David Hackston
Translation
Translated from the Finnish by David Hackston

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