Finalist, National Book Awards 2019 for Translated Literature

ISBN 9781524747497
Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House |
Pajtim Statovci

Pajtim Statovci was born in Kosovo in 1990 and moved with his family to Finland when he was two years old. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Helsinki. His first book, My Cat Yugoslavia, won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize for best debut novel and his second, Crossing, won the Toisinkoinen Literature Prize. More about this author >

David Hackston

David Hackston is a British translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. He graduated from University College London with a degree in Scandinavian Studies and now lives in Helsinki where he works as a freelance translator. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

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.

Judges Citation

In this radiant novel about a genderfluid Albanian refugee, Pajtim Statovci animates the interior experience of living beyond gender constructs, beyond national identity, beyond any kind of fixed categorical identity at all. With urgency and magnificent precision, Crossing shifts between the protagonist’s last days in Tirana and the many arrivals and departures that follow in Berlin, Madrid, Helsinki, and elsewhere in this superb translation from David Hackston.