Posts tagged Borders

The Good Life Elsewhere: A Dark Moldovan Comedy of Migration

To describe The Good Life Elsewhere by Moldovan writer Vladimir Lorchenkov as a comedy is slightly misleading. It’s certainly shot through with black humour and absurd situations as some Moldovan villagers go to ever more desperate lengths to escape their poverty and move to Italy. And yet, because of their poverty and their desperation, and because you know that, despite its absurdist exaggeration, this is a novel based on a real situation, the book will probably make you cry more than laugh. The Good Life Elsewhere starts, for example, with a group of Moldovan… Read More

Greece as Europe’s Borderland

Greece seems to be synonymous with “crisis” these days. The debt crisis, the migrant crisis, or just the “Greek crisis”, as if the whole country is in a permanent state of crisis. Interestingly, the very word “crisis” is of Greek origin, but krisis means “decision”, and those mostly get made in Brussels or Berlin these days. What I’ve never seen before is a coherent linking of the various crises afflicting this country that I love and in which I lived for a couple of years. That task was accomplished recently by Stathis… Read More

Literature and Empathy

As a (very) part-time journalist, I get inundated with press releases, most of which I delete. But one email subject line today caught my eye: “Step into the shoes of a migrant in the UK with groundbreaking audio experience.” In the current political climate, I think that stepping into others’ shoes—especially those of migrants—is about the most important thing we could be doing. One of the things I’ve learnt from travelling around Europe these last four years is that hate and fear come from distance. You can’t demonise someone when… Read More

November Reading Roundup

After a busy few months of travel, we slowed down a bit in November and spent more time just staying in comfortable rural hotels in Bulgaria and northern Greece. That meant more time for work and writing, but also for reading, so I had a good reading month overall. Here’s how it went… Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald I started off the month with an excellent read for German Literature Month. I found a beautiful meditation on memory and loss, as we follow Jacques Austerlitz piecing together the fragments of his… Read More