My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci
A Novel

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But it is faint criticism to say there should be more of a book, and Statovci’s literary gifts are prodigious. His sentences are lean and precise.
-NY Times

Synopsis

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
 

About Pajtim Statovci

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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.
Author Residence: Helsinki
Author Hometown: Kosovo
 
Published April 18, 2017 by Pantheon. 274 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for My Cat Yugoslavia
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Feb 05 2017

As it is, though, the creature turns out to be a complex character, tormented as well as a tormentor. And that’s not to speak of Bekim’s pet snake, who has dangerous ideas of his own. Allegorical but matter-of-fact: a fine debut, layered with meaning and shades of sorrow.

Read Full Review of My Cat Yugoslavia: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Apr 18 2017

It wouldn't be surprising if his next book succeeds where this one fails. But My Cat Yugoslavia, though clever in parts, is, unfortunately, too unpolished and immature to be considered anything more than a valiant attempt.

Read Full Review of My Cat Yugoslavia: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by TÉA OBREHT on Apr 21 2017

But it is faint criticism to say there should be more of a book, and Statovci’s literary gifts are prodigious. His sentences are lean and precise.

Read Full Review of My Cat Yugoslavia: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

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