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.
"[Statovci] knows how to disorient - and disarm.... This dark debut has a daring, irrepressible spirit." (The Atlantic)
"Powerful.... Dramatic.... Statovci is a tremendous talent. This debut novel - a deserved winner of the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize for Best First Novel in 2014 - has an intensity and power that demands a second reading." (Library Journal )
"An elegant, allegorical portrait of lives lived at the margin...A fine debut, layered with meaning and shades of sorrow." (Kirkus Reviews)
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