Orig. Finnish pub. 08/2019
April 1995. Arsim is a twenty-two-year-old, recently-married student at the University of Pristina, keeping his head down to gain his degree in an institution deeply hostile to Albanians. In a café he meets a young medical
student, and Serb, named Miloš. Before the day is out, everything has changed for both of them, and within a week two milestones erupt in Arsim’s married life: his wife announces her first pregnancy, and he commits his first act of violence against her.
After these febrile beginnings, Arsim and Miloš’s affair is derailed by the outbreak of war, which sends Arsim’s fledgling family abroad and the sensitive Miloš into a traumatising military career. Years later, deported back to Pristina after a spell in prison, Arsim begins a search for his lost love. But the Miloš with whom he is finally reunited is not the man he once knew.
Entwined with their story is the legend of the Bolla, a demonic serpent known as Kulshedra, which is traditionally released only once a year to devour everything in sight over the course of a single day; an unearthly tale that gives Arsim and Miloš a language through which to reflect on their desperate relationship.
“Pajtim Statovci’s startlingly exquisite new novel’s lovers meet at the worlds worst moment.” – – “In his third novel, the 29-year-old Statovci, shows once again astonishing and undeniable virtuosity that rises/puts his art in a dimension that has no time and place.” – – “Bolla impressively continues Pajtim Statovci’s career of international calibre.”
— Helsingin Sanomat, Finland
“Astounding, intense, melancholic.” – – “Multifaceted, skilful, contemplative, voluptuous.”
— Turun Sanomat, Finland