Graphics – Elisa Scarnicchia

Crossing – Pajtim Statovci

Crossing is a book of occupation, of the exile, of who was held hostage to the past, yet who finds in new and evolving identities the key of the departure and of the return, of the fluidity of the many-selves among the genders.

If you slowly read the book, it seems to taste the spirit of the Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes”.

Crossing is a book aimed at occupying because it depicts a mitotic process of multiplying the self, of holding all the selves in one place.This book has the power to define all the momentaneous identities. They are portrayed as they were stilt houses always on the edge of being flushed away to create a new riverbed and set up a new tone of time.

Crossing is the book of a journey of Bujar, Albanian, who runs away from the oppressions of the birthplace. Bujar is also someone who shapes, who creates, who can be all and everyone. Bujar can long to die, to be able to stand up from the ashes of the Twentieth Century, a past on which we still we make our steps.

transizioni copertina in inglese dello scrittore finlandese di origini albanesipajtim statovci

It is the cellular anatomy of belonging and exclusion, of love and solitude, of delicacy and cruelty. Crossing is like a chorus of several souls cohabitating, feeding, and fighting each other.

Crossing the identities

Sometimes, we meet the Bujar-man, or it is the Bujar-woman, or Egim, the friend of life and death, other times it is us, or the Albanian people. Sometimes, there are Bujar’s father or the people which take place in Bujar’s life, even violently, to build the Bujar-myth, the Bujar-child, the Bujar-adult, the Bujar-Egim, and Bujar-Albania.

Bujar merges them-selves (I mean here the different selves belonging to Bujar) so much with the narration that the name of Bujar disappears within the book itself. Some look at it as the symbol of void or the capacity of embracing everything. It is rather the presence of the Albanian myth, of the tales of the past, of the perspectives of the other characters around Bujar that mirror and delimit the actions of Bujar-Egim.

“I imagined that deep under the streets lay the heart of the city, an enormous, palpitating heart pumping to an arrhythmic beat of its own and with all the constituent parts, its chambers and blood vessels the twisting sewer system, winding streets and alleys, the mountains surrounding the city like lungs around the heart”

To be held in a bottle

This wide chorus and this immense humanity make the destinies of Bujar cross with the Nzù wine of Marco Carpineti winery. In the fascinating village of Cori, where Marco Carpineti winery is placed, in the local idiom Nzùmeans “together”, so this wine is an affirmation, a layering of the ideas by time.

The organic wine Nzù is the sum of all the bodies, the stories, the past of the terraced hills, the geology of the earth, the traditions which slowly vanish to be entangled in the air. All of this is a sip of Nzù wine.

Crossing by Pahtim Statovci book cover and wine reading

You soak in the eras, in the contradictions, as well as in the terracotta amphoras from which the wine is awaken. You plunge in Bellone native grapes and in the laws of time originating the uniqueness of Nzù.

“You’ll feel it when you fall in love, she said with her back to me as she submerged a foam-covered glass in the dishwater. Your heart will feel it, and after that nothing else will matter”.

Like Bujar, we know that this investigation on life, amid identities, is inevitable, even necessary, because there are no monolithic categories:

“I can choose what I am, I can choose my gender, choose my nationality and my name, my place of birth, all simply by opening my mouth. Nobody has to remain the person they were born; we can put ourselves together like a jigsaw.”.

This post is also available in: Italian