Orig. Finnish pub. 08/2019
Available in Finnish.
Soon available in English, Norwegian.
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 his art to 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
“5/5 stars. Pajtim Statovci’s third novel is even more intact and astounding than his predecessors.” – – “The reader doesn’t have to worry about a poorly written sentence. Because there aren’t any.”
— Kainuun Sanomat, Finland
“In his third novel, Pajtim Statovci, writes with even more focus and clear vision than before — and with such power that one could compare the fast-paced BOLLA to a top-notch surgery. The surgery is over in one sitting, and the end result is groundbreaking. Statovci’s ability to combine timeless, mountainous elements to naturalism is inimitable.” – – “In its clarity, BOLLA is a cinematic novel. I could see it directed by Jacques Audiard, as BOLLA has the same of divine yet barbaric poetry as the masterpiece A Prophet.”
— Suomen Kuvalehti, Finland
“Best Finnish prose in years. Pajtim Statovci writes high quality international literature, just as he did with My Cat Yugoslavia and Crossing. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that his third novel, BOLLA, vows with its excellence.” – – “BOLLA is worthy of being adapted on stages and screens, of foreign audiences.” – – “All in all, BOLLA is a magnificent book, Statovci’s best.”
— Demokraatti, Finland