My Cat Yugoslavia: A Novel By Pajtim Statovci

SUMMARY My Cat Yugoslavia: A Novel

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, improbablyhe is terrified of snakeshe 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 lovewhich he will find in the most unexpected place My Cat Yugoslavia: A Novel

Fun read, a bit plodding at times but very good. English My Cat Yugoslavia: A Novel, represents a post modern approach to several important social issues. Instead of a direct narrative, the writer provides us with different chapters narrated by the main characters (sometimes it is difficult to identify the narrator until well into the chapter). The several settings are also difficult to follow, sometimes we are in Finland (most of the time) and other times in Kosovo or some other part of the former Yugoslavia. In addition, the writer has a fantastic imagination that gives us a talking cat (among other real cats) that turn up in various chapters. This is a puzzle to solve is the cat an oppressor at times and a companion at other times. The young gay man who has
a python as a pet makes for another series of strange events. Is the snake a phallic symbol? Or does it represent a part of him that wants to hide and also destroy. Trying to fit these pieces together, along with his parents' story, is a challenge. What holds the narrative together is the fine writing and imaginative scenes. One final point: the book makes clear the horrific treatment of displaced persons, how they cannot fit in, learn the language, and find work. There is poignancy in many of the scenes where they struggle to survive. This is an important novel, but not one for those who lack the determination to take the story as it comes and not resist the surreal. English How wars cause displacement and the difficulty for immigrants to resettle in another country; where they do not speak the language. Prejudices of immigrants, regardless of their education, age, gender orientation can lead to separation of family members and marginal existence for many. English Devastatingly honest. Human existence stripped to basics. Confusing sad poignant revealing aloneness and loneliness frustrations and resolutions somewhat. Heart wrenching at times English Beautiful. English

Interesting personal perspectives, not recommended to readers looking to learn about Yugoslavia. You could do better with kusturica. Or wag the dog for that matter. English The author of this rather eccentric little book is a fascinating person: a 20 something young man who came with his family from the war torn former Yugoslavia to Finland, where he grew up. The book operates on several levels including his ethnic background and family experiences, personal encounters as a new Finn, and a deeply personal sexuality theme. English Ok but not impressed English Bizarre but intriguing. English Taking me a while to develop any character sympathy here. Am about a third throughmay not finish. English