An exhilarating and blackly comical exploration of immigration from an Albanian who grew up in a totalitarian madhouse, longing for Greece, where he found more absurdities⎯and who eventually settled in the United States

“Kapllani treats the absurdities of nationalism in the Balkans—and everywhere—with mischief, wit and insight.” —Boyd Tonkin, Independent (UK)

TRAVEL WRITING / BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR | October 3, 2017 | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | 144 pages | Trade paper | $14.00 | 9780997316988 | US only


"One of this book’s pleasures is the author’s honesty, but one of its shocks is that it exposes an everyman’s struggle for dignity.” —Kapka Kassabova, Guardian

“An autobiographical meditation of what it means to be an immigrant. With great insight, through his personal story, Kapllani has enabled us far better to understand and enter into this overwhelming problem of our times.” —Peter Stansky, author of Edward Upward and Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University

“A telling reminder of how the borders that many of us are lucky enough to regard as bureaucratic inconvenience often form unimpeachable barriers and of how the way they are policed can be ruthless and absurd.” ⎯Irish Times



After spending his childhood in Albania, and fantasizing about life across the border, Gazmend Kapllani escapes to Greece–only to get banged up in a detention center. As he and his fellow immigrants try to find jobs, they begin to plan their future lives in Greece, imagining success that is always beyond their grasp. The sheer absurdity of both their plans and their new lives is overwhelming. Both ironic and emotional, Kapllani interweaves the story of his experience with meditations upon “border syndrome”⎯a mental state, as much as a geographical experience–to create a brilliantly observed, amusing, and perceptive debut. And a timely one at that, given that immigration is again at the forefront of politics both in the US and Europe.



Gazmend Kapllani at Wellesley College on "Border Syndrome":

Boston Radio interview with Gazmend Kapllani:

Interview with Gazmend Kapllani on the Asymptote Blog: 


Gazmend Kapllani, the author of three books, teaches creative writing and European history at Emerson College and was previously a fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute. Born in 1967 in Albania, he crossed the mountainous border into Greece on foot in 1991. In Greece he worked as a builder, a cook, and a kiosk attendant while earning a doctorate at Athens University. For more than twenty years he was a columnist for the leading daily Ta Nea. A Short Border Handbook, inspired by his own experience as an immigrant and written in Greek, was a best-seller in Greece and translated into several languages; Kapllani’s other books include the novels My Name is Europe (2010, Greece; 2013, France) and The Last Page (2012, Greece).

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