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Tiranan sydän

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,474 ratings  ·  180 reviews
Palkitun kirjailijan henkeäsalpaava romaani matkasta Euroopan ja ihmisen laidalta toiselle

1990-luvun alun Tiranassa nuori Bujar menettää isänsä, ja hänen paras ystävänsä Agim tuntee olevansa väärässä ruumiissa. Kommunistinen diktatuuri Albaniassa on päättynyt, ja maa kurottaa kohti Eurooppaa. Yhteiskunnan romahduksen aikaansaama kaaos saa pojat ottamaan kohtalon omiin käsi
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ebook, 300 pages
Published August 2016 by Otava
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  1,474 ratings  ·  180 reviews


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Barbara

[Updated review for clarity] I have a lot of thoughts surrounding this book and it has been hard to summarise them all. There were even moments when I worried that I was being too harsh, that perhaps I was unable to separate my personal feelings about certain aspects of the book from its overall quality.

The thing is, this book is not really meant for an Albanian audience. And perhaps the majority of those who know little or nothing about Albania will come to love it for what it does. For them, i
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Paul Fulcher
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Now shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature

How can you establish a relationship with someone if you want to deny your past, your nationality, if you don’t want to tell anyone anything about yourself, if what you most want to do is forget where you’ve come from?

Translated by David Hackston from Pajtim Statovci's Finnish, the original title of Crossing would translate as Heart of Tirana.  Publishers changing titles in translation is a pet bugbear of mine but here the
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book is a finalist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature in 2019. It starts in Albania in the early 1990s and the two main characters travel through Kosovo, Italy, Germany, up to Finland (which is where the author relocated as a child in the same era.) I was a bit confused at times as to who was narrating, but more because the author is playing with ideas of identity and how much a place informs who you can be. It also reveals a considerable amount of the Albanian sensibilit ...more
Doug
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I (vaguely) recall really liking Statovci's award-winning debut novel My Cat Yugoslavia, which impelled me to read this new one, which has also already won an award or two (... and should at LEAST get a Booker international nomination when such come around again). If anything, this is even more compulsively readable, with a story that never quite goes where one is expecting, but with such exquisite control of the material, and rendered in gorgeous prose (in Hackston's impressive translation). Hi ...more
Travel.with.a.book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ella
What does it mean to be without a home, or without a body - or to have both of those things but feel unwelcome & like you don't belong in the first place. The narrator says at one point about Albania, "It's not my country." Full stop. This book explores these things in a novel, interesting way that is deeply touching. So different from his last book, My Cat Yugoslavia, not in theme but execution. Early on there is a description of his father who is, much like My Cat, death-obsessed and angry, bu ...more
Sam
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am rounding this up from 3.5 to 4 stars. I finished the novel a few days ago and as I do with some novels I read, I have sat pondering how I should write about this when I have mixed thoughts. I want to encourage readers to sample the author, enjoy his storytelling, appreciate his humor, and empathize as he depicts a character's pain. I also wish to express how I felt about the book and why the book did not satisfy me. Since I do not wish to prejudice, I am going to only highlight one example ...more
Tommi
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to an audiobook of this so I’m not going to analyze it in depth here, but just wanted to say that Crossing (more literal translation would be The Heart of Tirana) must be one of the best novels I’ve read this year. Such a riveting, deep, layered, and wonderfully told story. Very skilled translator (David Hackston) also. Statovci writes about huge subjects like transgender people, immigration, national identity + history + myth, and sets the novel across several European countries and ...more
June
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intranslation
Brilliantly structured and masterfully translated, Crossing deals with themes of exile, identity, gender and betrayal through the story of a young Albanian refugee. It packs a hell of an emotional wallop. Recommended.
Kasa Cotugno
His story, as Bujar tells it, is unique -- an examination of the search for a home and gender identification, transcending borders. Starting in Albania and wending his way through, among others, Italy USA and Finland, it is almost a tryptik examination of various national attitudes toward Bujar and his gender fluidity. Some is devastating and some humorous, but for the most part, harrowing, and Bujar is not always sympathetic which makes it even more interesting. Sprinkled throughout are fables ...more
Scott  Hitchcock
The problem with this book is the author changes scenes and locations so fast the story feels abrupt at every turn. Second issue is although the events make you want to feel for the main character there's no depth to their emotions. Yes you know they're sad, angry, confused....but only at the surface level. I grew first aggravated and then bored as things went along.
Miles
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t think I took a single breath as I hurtled through the final 30 pages of this book. Utterly stunning storytelling. This book is full of gorgeously simple and slyly evocative passages, one after the other, building up to a heart-breaking conclusion. I haven’t been this moved by a novel since A Little Life.
Ilira Al
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book unfolds to the reader like a road movie, tackling issues that authors of Albanian descent have never been tackling before: gender, patriarchy (in a completely new way compared to "My cat Yugoslavia"), immigration under the scope of gender identity as a perminant transition, friendship and loss, the impossibility to sticking to the good things that life can bring, the permanent fear of displacement. This is a piece of great international literature but carries with it the strong scent o ...more
b aaron talbot
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fantastic. the ending both confused me and transfixed me and i am still working my way through that. but wow, what a book.

in the first chapter, we meet bujar as he tries to commit suicide. the story then follows bujar through two narrative streams, pre and post attempt. i found both stories extremely engaging and satisfying: the pre-story of life in albania and the post-story of trying to make sense of life in various cities around the world.

what i like most about this book is the way the charac
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Christopher Jones
Pajtim has knocked Crossing right out of the ballpark , this is TOTALLY BRILLIANT ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Hannah
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars - Fantastic book

It’s pretty unbelievable that I’ve read two amazing books one after the other, but I have!

Pajtim Statovci starts the story by introducing us to two young teens, Bujar and Agim, and subsequently takes us with them on a journey of love, political upheaval, migration, and sexual and gender exploration. Bujar and Agim are from Albania and the book spans the 1990s through early 2000s. I haven’t read too many books about Southeastern Europe, so I found this book particularly in
...more
Jani
May 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pajtim Statovci's second novel is a fragmented affair, but perhaps it at least partially meant to be that way. After all, questions of immigration and gender are very much at its heart.

The novel follows it characters from early nineties to early noughties, chronologically from Albania to Finland with several layovers. It begins with two boys living in a country ruled by a dictator whose demise is followed by a war. One is not satisfied with his home, one with his gender. Later, during their esca
...more
Laurelin
Crosing is a complex story about culture, identity, and gender set in the 1990s. The protagonist, Bujar, is a gender-fluid Albanian who grew up burdened by the legacy of communism and the weight of cultural expectations, and the book follows Bujar's journey from Tirana to Rome, Madrid, New York, and Helsinki.

When I passed the book in my local public library and saw the double-headed eagle on the cover, I knew I couldn't leave the building without it. After serving in Peace Corps Albania, I was
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LindaJ^
Bujar starts his life in Albania. His father is from Kosovo. His mother is Albanian. He has an older sister. He has a best friend - Agim - who is super smart and likes to wear his sister's and mother's clothes. When they are young teenagers, they leave home and live on the streets for a couple of years, all the time trying to figure out how to get to Italy and Western Europe.

But the book opens in Italy with an attempted suicide at age 22.

Then it is on to Part I where we meet the boys, watch Buja
...more
Lilo
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must start with an explicit bias disclaimer - as an immigrant that has struggled with identity, this book was extremely powerful. For the first time, I read about an immigrant character's deep and complex relationship with their identity and it felt authentic. The desire to "play" in this new country to create who they want to be and become, unaware of how they could be hurting the people they love. This struggle and desire to create, and recreate is powerful and clouds judgment and trumps all ...more
Heidi
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved Statovci's first book "My Cat Yugoslavia". So I was really excited about reading his second book that deals with the same sort of themes; homosexuality, immigration, lost identity and Balkan. I really enjoyed the story and struggled to put the book away since it was so fascinating.

But some parts were a bit too much. For an example in this book consisting of 271 pages the main character tries to commit suicide in Rome, participates in a creative writing class in Berlin, falls in love wit
...more
Rene Hooft
While I enjoyed parts of this book, ultimately I didn't like where this book ended and felt a bit off about it.
I was really excited about the story of the two boys escaping their home town and growing up together but then it turned into something completely different and I didn't really vibe with it.
Ronald Leung
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful prose. A slow burn on the insufficiency of modern labels and exploring diaspora in more than the usual dimensions. The shapelessness of the narrative gave it a sense of mystique that also sometimes made it hard to stay immersed, but otherwise was a good read
Sarah T
3.5/5 stars

Assorted thoughts:
-The writing in this is absolutely PHENOMENAL. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be in the original language, but this translation really knocked my socks off in a way few translations honestly ever do. like there are so many points where i just had to sit and take a breath because the descriptions were so visceral and powerful, wowowow the way this writer has with words is just incredible.
-I actually really like the nonlinear nature of the narrative and the u
...more
Sam
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Various tragedies condensed into a short novel that has the potential for more development.
Trigger/content warning: Novel includes rape.

Crossing is the first novel I have read in the lgbt+ genre, and it is also the first novel where I dislike the narrator. Disliking the narrator does not inherently make the story bad, but it did make a few areas frustrating - especially when many points in the plot deserved more attention. I gather that his behaviour may be a result of trauma, but it's hard
...more
Sandra
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

' I can choose my gender, choose my nationality and my name, my place of birth, all simply by opening my mouth. Nobody has to remain the person they were born; we can put ourselves together like a jigsaw. '

This book covers two timelines. We first meet our protagonist as an adult, roaming the streets of Italy.

'When I think about my own death, the moment it happens is always the same. '

We than go back to 1990 Albania where we meet Bujar as a 14 year old boy, living in an apartment buildin
...more
Cher
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you pantheonbooks for the free book for review

Get read for so many hot topic to get addressed in this well written fast paced book! I’m talking immigration, suicide, domestic violence, gender identity, traditional gender roles deemed by society, national identity, love, heartbreak, refugees, sexual orientation, but also dark humor! This book follows the story of the narrator, Bujar, and his boyhood friend, Agim, as they run away from their homes in Albania and head west with their sites o
...more
D
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is beautifully written--I have tabbed so many pages of this book. I imagine it's even more beautiful in Finnish.

This book explores identity--national identity, gender identity, etc. all of which make up parts of who you are as a person. It raises incredibly relevant and thoughtful questions about what it means to be homeless, to be a refugee, to be an immigrant, to be trans, etc. The author also showed how easily self-hate manifests when society discriminates against you for being from
...more
Michael
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There’s a a kind of clinical distance in the narrative that strangely interacts with sometimes poetic, sometimes allegorical prose. There’s a way in which the story seems almost like an interior version of China Mieville’s The City and the City. But there’s something powerfully compelling in all of the crossings.
Jonida
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Throughly enjoyed this book. Statovic does an excellent job in description and imagery. Being Albanian myself, I found myself relating to many aspects, and also moving to the states. The hardships and the pain is rich in this story and it makes for a thought provoking novel. It was heartbreaking but really entailed life.
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Nordic Book Club: June 2019 - Crossing 1 12 Jun 25, 2019 02:35PM  

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Pajtim Statovci is a Kosovo-born Finnish author.

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“Menen hetkeksi istumaan kirkon etuosaan, kaivan laukusta uuden ristikoruni ja ripustan sen kaulalleni, ja kun muuan pappi tervehtii minua nyökkäämällä suuntaani mitä hienovaraisimmalla eleellä, joka on kuin lyhyt siveltimenveto, minusta tuntuu että ymmärrän Suomesta jotakin keskeistä: ihmiset eivä tole epäkohteliaita vaan yksinäisiä, ja he pitävät siitä, että saavat olla rauhassa omissa oloissaan, eivätkä he tarvitse ympärilleen mitään ylimääräistä, eivät pilvenpiirtäjien tuomaa ylellisyyttä tai koristeellisten palatsien hohtoa.” 1 likes
“Katson häntä ja asuntoa hänen ympärillään, elämää jota hän elää, paikkaa johon hän maailmassa kuuluu, miten osaton hän kaikesta huolimatta on. Opiskelupaikka yliopistossa, tällainen asunto ja tällaiset huonekalut, ystäviä jotka pitävät hänestä huolta, eikä hän näe sitä mikä hänellä jo on, vain sen mikä häneltä vielä puuttuu - kaiketi siksi, ettei halua sitä, mitä hänellä on, yhtä paljon kuin sitä mitä hän ei voi saada.” 1 likes
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