The novel Bolla by Pajtim Statovci, a Finnish writer of Kosovar origin, is an epic and at the same time lyrical, deeply personal story of love immersed in the "grand history." Like the author's own life marked by inherited trauma, it begins in the Balkans, amidst one of the wars that have lasted for over a quarter of a century, with wounds that are still fresh in some places, blending the collective and the political with the most intimate aspects in an inseparable manner.
The love story at its core is transgressive in every way within its own context: it binds the protagonists with invisible chains that sometimes border on shackles, connecting two students from Pristina - a Serb and a Kosovar - with unfathomable consequences – just before the war, in its whirlwind and aftermath, during a time of scars and wounds. However, this is not a sweet saga of love that transcends gender, national, religious, and other boundaries. Both characters are deeply conditioned by their own past, and their inability to fully surrender to this love will result in two completely different fates, on the edge or at the very heart of crime.
Bolla - a word for a monster from stories and a social outcast - is a portrayal of transitional Kosovo and an emigrant existence in an orderly distant country, a sketch for reproducing deeply rooted stereotypes, and an allegory illuminated by a framework of fairy tale or phantasmagoria, shedding light on the most human aspects within us: in its brightest tones and even more so in its darkest shades.