Moldova: Harsh Reality Infused with Humor

I was afraid that it would be a challenge to find a book from Moldova. Little did I know my library had one e-book waiting for me. Who am I to say no to an easy way to get ahold of a book? This is how I ended up reading The Good Life Elsewhere by Vladimir Lorchenkov. In this case, I can honestly say it is all in the title.

Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest countries, unknown to most, tucked in between Ukraine and Romania. My knowledge of Moldova was not extensive before I read the book, I know one person from Moldova, and I have heard some stories from people who have been there, but that is pretty much it. The book confirmed many of the things I have heard about the country and its people.

The book is funny. This is a good thing, because so far I have read several books about poor villages in poor countries, with next to no hope and many desperate people. It is sad, albeit true of course. The sadness and desperation in this book was however well sheltered within the perky humor, which I have to say the author played with nicely.

One of the villagers had studied Italian, because his dream was to move to Italy to start a new life there with a proper job. He gathered the large sum of money required to take a dangerous trip from Moldova to Italy, traveling at night, staying hidden during the day. Turns out he and the rest of the people trying to find a better life in Italy were cheated on, and they found themselves dumped in Moldova, not Italy. It also turned out that he did not speak a word of Italian; he had instead been studying Norwegian. This is just the beginning of the story, with a lot more to come.

The story is of course sad, but written with a twinkle in the author’s eye. However, these sort of arranged dangerous trips from one country to another happen daily, and is definitely not a laughing matter. We can read about it daily, and it is heartbreaking the way people are cheated out of large sums of money, just to find out that after everything they had done, there was no paradise at the end of the tunnel.

The book has many important subjects and messages, and I would recommend everyone to read it! Well, everyone who can handle reading about a subject like this with a twisty sense of humor. Not everyone can handle it, so consider yourself warned!

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