April 1995. Arsim is a twenty-two-year-old, recently-married student at the University of Pristina, keeping his head down to gain a university degree in a time and place deeply hostile to Albanians. In a café he meets a young man named Milos, a Serb. Before the day is out, everything has changed for both of them, and within a week two milestones erupt in Arsim’s married life: his wife announces her first pregnancy, and he begins a life in secret.
Entwined with their story is a recreated legend of a demonic serpent, Bolla: an unearthly tale that gives Arsim and Milos a language through which to reflect what they once had. With luminous prose and a delicate eye, Statovci delivers a relentless novel of desire, destruction, intimacy, and the different fronts of war.