Read The World — The Good Life Elsewhere — Vladimir Lorchenkov (Moldova)
Blurb from goodreads.com, please scroll down for my review.
The Good Life Elsewhere is a very funny book. It is also a very sad one. Moldovan writer Vladimir Lorchenkov tells the story of a group of villagers and their tragicomic efforts, against all odds and at any cost, to emigrate from Europe’s most impoverished nation to Italy for work. The Good Life Elsewhere aims to present the complexity of a new Europe, where allegiances shift but memories are rooted in place. The book integrates small-scale human follies with strategic partnerships, unification plans, and the Soviet legacies that still hang over the former Eastern Bloc. Lorchenkov addresses the vexing question of what to do when many formerly pro-Soviet/pro-Russia countries want to link arms with their Western European brethren. In this uproarious tale, an Orthodox priest is deserted by his wife for an art-dealing atheist; a mechanic redesigns his tractor for travel by air and sea; thousands of villagers take to the road on a modern-day religious crusade to make it to the promised land of Italy; meanwhile, politicians remain politicians.
Quote: We’ll discreetly circle over the airport, fall in with a plane going to Bucharest, and fly on its tail. Then we’ll repeat the tactic and fly to Budapest. And then, on to Slovenia. From there it’s only a stone’s throw away from Italy.
According to the genre of this book it is a satire, this is not a genre I read often, so what is a satire: according to the dictionary satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
And this is true for this book, it is also very sad and bizarre with a variety of useless deaths, where the people died in very odd ways, there were times when this book was occasionally amusing, but not laugh aloud, and time where it was very jumpy, jumping around, and missed, what I considered, key parts, and occasionally political.
But this book deals with a very real issue: Migration, something that happens throughout most of the world, people wanting a better life in another country.
There are many Moldovans wanting to emigrate to other countries, in the case of this book, Italy is the promised land, and the locals from a small town called Larga, invent a variety of ways to go there, almost fantasy ways of travel like turning an old tractor into a plane, and when that didn’t work out so well, turn the tractor into a submarine, so yes It is occasionally amusing, but far from laugh aloud,
Based from 1993 onwards, it covers more than a decade in time, but as I was reading the book it actually felt like I was in the 1930’s or 40's.
I give this book 3 stars. The next country we are visiting in the Read the world challenge is Greece.
Originally published at http://readinginecuador.wordpress.com on January 24, 2022.