(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“…I may have arrived without an invitation but I work just like the rest of you do, I pay the same taxes as the rest of you do, and most importantly my boss, or rather, my bosses, need me. Yes, I do realize that you are feeding me, but let me tell you that I more than repay it. Yes, I am dependent on you for my survival, but you depend on me for your wealth. That’s life. Give and take. I have started to build a new life here. I have got used to this city, and who knows, this city might eventually get used to me. So why am I illegal and worse than a stray dog?”
These could be the words of any undocumented worker from any country, but these are the thoughts of Gazmend Kapllani as he realized that his new country wasn’t quite what he thought it would be. But he knew that he didn’t want to go back to Albania. He, along with others, crossed the border into Greece on January 15, 1991. They knew where they escaped from but had no idea where they were going.
Part auto-biography and part fiction based on true conversations and events, A Short Border Handbook is an emotional but also often darkly comical account of what these immigrants experienced after the fall of the Soviet Bloc and what immigrants all over the world continue to endure. He also relates the oppressive life in Albania prior to leaving.
A full review of A Short Border Handbook: A Journey Through the Immigrant’s Labyrinth will be posted on UnderratedReads on its re-release date on October 3, 2017. Look for this engrossing and riveting book!