I love how strange and creative this book is. There are plenty of titles out there that have perspectives on the immigrant experience, or perspectives on love and relationships and human interactions, but nothing quite like this. Recommended By Lonnan R., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A love story set in two countries in two radically different moments in time, bringing together a young man, his mother, a boa constrictor, and one capricious cat.
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."
“Spry and warm. . . . The novel is a slowly shattering and re-forming reflection of the protagonists’ corresponding descents into wintry numbness, until, near the end, they begin to revive, and to love. . . . Statovci’s surreal, arresting novel suggests that . . . love and identity have many reflections, many destinies, many languages. Sometimes, a broken mirror reflects something truer—as does the kind of love, drawn from the deepest sunken places, that tries to put it back together.” Gabrielle Bellot, The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog
“Every once in a while, but not often, a book and author come along so original, so mature, and so timeless you might think you’re discovering a classic from the past. But My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci is very much a novel of and for today. It asks urgent questions about identity and family, humanity and nationality, symbols and metaphors, but refuses to give any simple answers. By embracing the complexity of our present world, Statovci has created a work of literature, and a work of art.” David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife
“Strange and exquisite, the book is a meditation on exile, dislocation, and loneliness.” The New Yorker
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.