An exhilarating, blackly funny exploration of migration and borders from an Albanian who grew up longing to cross to Greece, only to find reality did not match fantasy After spending his childhood and school years in Albania, imagining that the miniskirts and game shows of Italian state TV were the reality of life in the West, and fantasizing accordingly about living on the other side of the border, the 1985 death of Albanian Communist leader Hoxha at last enables Gazmend Kapllani to make his escape. However, on arriving in the promised land, he finds neither lots of willing leggy ladies nor a warm welcome from his long-lost Greek cousins. Instead, he gets banged up in a detention center in a small border town. As Gazi and his fellow immigrants try to find jobs, they begin to plan their future lives in Greece, imagining riches and successes that always remain just beyond their grasp. The sheer absurdity of their plans and their new lives is overwhelming. Both detached and involved, ironic and emotional, Kapllani interweaves the story of his experience with meditations upon border syndromea mental state, as much as a geographical experienceto create a brilliantly observed, amusing, and perceptive debut.
'A brilliant, wry and playful memoir about migration. Kapllani tells it as it's never been told before.' Lisa Appignanesi 'Kapllani treats the absurdities of nationalism in the Balkans - and everywhere - with mischief, wit and insight' Boyd Tonkin, Independent