Having made the world, God began to regret his creation.Bolla, Pajtim Statovci, Pantheon Books 2021
Delivered on its promise of being “Brokeback Mountain in Eastern Europe”. Except there’s no cowboys, and an even larger divide because of war going on, so throw in some Romeo & Juliet in there as well.
Arsim, Albanian, married falls for Milos (single, Serb) in nineties Kosovo. If that isn’t enough of a challenge, both his wife’s pregnancy and the regional war follow soon.
Bolla is a small story – less than two hundred pages – yet somehow manages to make this romance very intimate and a window to look through at the (developing) war. War is people, war is ideas but it’s also societies that just try to keep moving on, staying upright. But love needs more than ‘staying upright’ and Statovci shows it full of ache and longing. Neither characters make good/great decisions, but do they have any other options?
Not something you’d call a nice read, but definitely a good one.