the perilous journey of an illegal immigrant . . . the power of love and friendship!
by James Rouman
2011 NEBF Award
In his quest of a promising future, Rejep encounters unexpected problems after he flees his home in Albania. Uncertain Journey is the story of the challenges he faces as an illegal alien in places where he is unwanted. This fast-paced novel introduces the reader to a remarkable woman who helps him against the wishes of her Greek-American family—and to a host of memorable characters who live in the condominium where he works anonymously until his world, once thought secure, begins to unravel.
From Uncertain Journey—
All the while, Rejep understood one thing. Remaining in Albania was never an option for him. There he would be but one more miserable creature among all the others he knew. Yet to replace the certainty of that life for one on the run was a risk he was willing to take. And with no specific plan in mind or a solid compass to follow, he knew it would be luck and his own resourcefulness that would determine what happened to him were he to escape and become an illegal alien. Several persons he knew had managed to get away and lead decent lives elsewhere, while others returned only to find themselves in situations far worse than before.
Reviews & Readers' Comments
"Writing with a limpid prose and a shrewd sympathy for his characters, Rouman finds universality in the travails of an iconic outsider. A subtle, absorbing portrait of the immigrant experience." -- Kirkus Reviews, Kirkus Star for "remarkable merit"
"Uncertain Journey puts a face on illegal immigration through the telling of the perilous journey of a young Albanian who seeks a new life in America. It is a tale of the power of love and friendship as well as the competing power of prejudice based on personal, ethnic and political histories. The author also subtly reminds us of the amnesia of past immigrants in viewing the newly arrived as they wrestle with finding their place. It is a timely book as the nation struggles with a burgeoning population of illegal aliens."
— Sandra Fromson, Ph.D., Sociologist
"In our society, immigration—particularly illegal immigration—is discussed as if it were a theoretical issue, that is, as if it did not involve real people in real places doing real things. By centering his novel on an Albanian and giving him a background rather different from one most Americans expect an illegal immigrant to have, the author makes room for the human element—making it something of a love story. The point is that while the novel is "about" illegal immigration in some sense, that is not all that it is about."
— Stephen Trzaskoma, Ph.D., Professor of Classics, University of New Hampshire
Critics love Underwater Dreams, the first novel
from James Rouman
"What sets Rouman's novel apart is his insight into immigrant life in small town America . . . A laudable effort . . . an interesting addition to the literature of the Greek-American immigrant experience."
"The characters in Underwater Dreams, and the depth of their feelings for one another remain in my head and heart. I suspect they'll be there for a long time."
—Robert Krause, The National Herald
About the Author
James Rouman was born and raised in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Following service in the navy during World War II, he graduated from Northwestern University Medical School and worked for a year as a ship surgeon before specializing in anesthesiology, which he practiced at a major tertiary-care center in Connecticut. The author's first novel, Underwater Dreams, (Peter E. Randall Publisher, 2006) was warmly received.
Visit the author's Website
Printed books: ISBN: 978-1-931807-89-0, hardcover, 5x7, 208 pages, $20.00 / Fiction
Softcover $14.00, 978-0-914339-16-8
Available from University Press of New England