Portobello, £7.99, 161pp from the Independent Bookshop : 08430 600 030
A Short Border Handbook, By Gazmend Kapllani
Friday 21 May 2010
After so many books, and so much polemic, who can tell a fresh story about migrant life in Europe? Try this Albanian newcomer to Greece, who worked his way up from Athens kiosk vendor to philosophy student and then leading press columnist, but still has natives compliment him on his Greek. Identity politics and statistical quarrels don't interest him.
Instead, this funny, offbeat, original report on "border syndrome" (translated in all its sardonic poise by Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife) traces the tragicomic plight of migrants who yearn both to fit in and to stand apart.
These memories of one who dares "to start your life again from scratch" build into a witty and irreverent take on a heavy theme that his lightness brings to life.
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