From the jury’s statement:

Meine Katze Jugoslawien is an idiosyncratic novel that, while using accessible language, nonetheless bursts with all the complexities that the realm of human emotions has to offer.

Alternating between a mother and her son, we follow them through various periods and situations in their lives, connected by precisely what separates them: a man’s violence, patriarchal violence.

Pajtim Statovci dares to unsettle his readers by breaking with the conventions that usually inform auto-fictional novels about migration. With masterful linguistic ease, he criss-crosses a range of timeframes and topics, deftly combining the ordinary and the surreal, the banal and the existential. Thanks to this strategy, he steers us through a very tangible experience of what could probably be described in abstract terms as transgenerational trauma. Touching at times, frequently comical, and consistently implacable. 

Statovci’s restrained language has been translated into German by Stefan Moster with a simple elegance that makes it all the more impactful. His translation is smoothly fluent, both in the poetic descriptions of the cat’s perception and in the laconic and humorous passages, and testifies to a profound intimacy with the languages between which he works. 

With Meine Katze Jugoslawien, Pajtim Statovci has succeeded in creating nothing less than a European novel—a novel of exile, a novel about a whole generation, a queer novel; none of those terms alone would do it justice. A literary work that readers can now enjoy in German thanks to Stefan Moster’s translation.

Pajtim Statovci, born in 1990, is a Finnish-Kosovar author. At the age of two he moved with his parents from Kosovo to Finland, where he studied comparative literature. Statovci’s work has won multiple awards, including the Helsinki Writer of the Year Prize in 2018. He is a research associate at the University of Helsinki.

Stefan Moster, born 1964 in Mainz, is an author and translator. He was a lecturer at the universities of Munich and Helsinki and translated works by Hannu Raittila, Ilkka Remes, Kari Hotakainen, Markku Ropponen, Petri Tamminen, and Daniel Katz, amongst others, into German. He made his literary debut in 2009 with the novel Die Unmöglichkeit des vierhändigen Spiels [The impossibility of playing with four hands]. In 2022, he was awarded the Helmut M. Braem Prize; in 2018, the Martha Saalfeld Award; and in 2001, the Finnish State Award for Foreign Translators.

Pajtim Statovci: Meine Katze Jugoslawien
translated from Finnish by Stefan Moster
Luchterhand Literaturverlag, 2024