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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award Finalist

From the acclaimed author of My Cat Yugoslavia: a stunning, incandescent new novel that speaks to identity, war, exile, love, betrayal, and heartbreak.

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.

©2019 Pajtim Statovci and David Hackston (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"Statovci’s writing...has an affecting lyricism.... [Containing] at its best, longing and rage compressed in a single sentence at once sweepingly plangent and rooted in granular detail.... Crossing, in its rejection of fixed notions of identity, has a kind of kinship with recent books by other young queer writers, among them Andrea Lawlor’s Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl...and Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater.... Crossing arrives at a moment when many of us have grown suspicious of monolithic categories...and have begun to recognize how inadequate such labels are to encompass the reality of individual lives. The novel memorably portrays the pain those labels can cause.” (Garth Greenwell, The New Yorker

“Poignant.... Powerful.... [A] searching tale of a young Albanian whose struggle to understand his sexual orientation and gender identity is interwoven with his struggle to survive in foreign lands.” (Booklist

“Reading Pajtim Statovci’s fiction is like entering a lucid dream: life and death intertwines in an intimate dance; the nostalgia for the past is akin to the nostalgia for the future. Crossing is a novel that dazzles and mesmerizes, and the reader, upon finishing, may have the extraordinary sensation that his or her own dreams have been scattered along the journey, beckoning for rereading.” (Yiyun Li, author of Where Reasons End)

What listeners say about Crossing

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  • Tyx P.
  • 2020-04-01

Insightful, deeply human account

I relished the story from start to finish. I wish i could read it in its original text. I found the translation to be comprehensive. But I only really speak English, myself.
Narrator was well selected. Thank you.