National Book Award Finalist
From the acclaimed author of My Cat Yugoslavia: a stunning, incandescent new novel that speaks to identity, war, exile, love, betrayal, and heartbreak.
The death of Head of State Enver Hoxha and the loss of his father leave Bujar growing up in the ruins of Communist Albania and of his own family. Only his fearless best friend, Agim - who is facing his own realizations about his gender and sexuality - gives him hope for the future. Together, the two decide to leave everything behind and try their luck in Italy. But the struggle to feel at home - in a foreign country and even in one's own body - will have corrosive effects, spurring a dangerous search for new identities.
Steeped in a rich heritage of bewitching Albanian myth and legend, this is a deeply timely and deeply necessary novel about the broken reality for millions worldwide, about identity in all its complex permutations, and the human need to be seen.
“[A] story told with great sensitivity and empathy, highlighting Statovci's development as a leading voice in modern European literature.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Poignant.... Powerful.... [A] searching tale of a young Albanian whose struggle to understand his sexual orientation and gender identity is interwoven with his struggle to survive in foreign lands.” (Booklist)
“Anyone who has ever known what it’s like to leave home in pursuit of happiness and belonging will most likely love this tender, beautiful novel as much as I did.” (Imbolo Mbue, author of Behold the Dreamers)