Nominated by:

Espoo City Library, Finland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Pushkin Press, UK

My Cat Yugoslavia

Pajtim Statovci    

Translated from the Finnish by David Hackston

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  was born in 1990 and moved from Kosovo to Finland with his family when he was two years old. He currently lives in Helsinki, where he is studying comparative literature at the University of Helsinki and screenwriting for film and television at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. My Cat Yugoslavia is his first novel.

Librarian’s 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.

 

 

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