In this dual-language collection of six original tales, Sami Novaj affords readers a close look at the Albanian experience. From conflict in Kosova to blood feuds in the hills of Albania, Novaj is unafraid to plunge into the heart of Albanian history and culture. In "Teuta," a grieving young lad builds an enchanted boat and takes the voyage of a lifetime. With rich metaphor, the story of Kosova and the aftermath of war is told through the eyes of "Lindita," a young woman with a strong heart. From the simple humor of "The Haircut," to the heart-wrenching plight of the diaspora in "The Pasture," the characters come alive against the backdrop of a nation still experiencing the throes of self-awakening. Whether running through a city of stone, chased by an ancient curse in "The Partisan," or encountering a small child in a war-torn city in "The Little Girl in Gjilan," Novaj's characters are ultimately human, possessing all the frailties and strengths found within humankind. And one does not have to be Albanian to appreciate the joy, dreams and heartbreak found within these stories. The universal emotions of fear, love and wonderment will move a reader of any nationality or ethnicity.
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