This is a thoroughly enjoyable, page turning, adventure read. Even though I don't usually choose books in this genre, I was caught up by the story from page one. The fast paced road trip is vividly described, and the characters believable. It's a story of youngsters who disappear from their village, attempting to climb out of rural poverty, their hope to find work in another country, and it is a story the clash between concerned friends and of criminals and people traffickers. As pastor Jude, the ex-criminal Mehmed, and policeman Luan drive hell for leather from Albania to Athens in a borrowed car, we are with them in all the thrills and spills, their mission to find out what has happened to Alban, and Kela, from their village. Descriptions of the landscape and of daily life in Albania, and of Athens during riots created by the austerity program in 2012, form the backdrop to their desperate journey, their fears, and the conflicts and rresolutions between the three of them.
We are catapulted into an ending which is both believable and redemptive, though not for all the characters, and certainly not for every hopeful young adult who starts the journey. It could and is repeated daily in many countries of our world, and should told.
When beginning the book I had not known that there was a prequel novel, involving the characters of the pastor Jude and his wife Alex, and how tough guy criminal Mehmed’s life was changed. When I discovered this, it helped me understand motivations and relationships between these main characters. Some of that story might have usefully been introduced near the start of The Migrant. I was also not sure that the literary references to Byron and to Jane Eyre are a helpful way to see into Jude and Alex’s relationship or personalities.
My other critical thought is that a bit more ‘content editing’ could have made for a clearer and more smooth flowing text. In such a fast paced novel, this would have transformed a good reading experience into a very good one.
Recommended to take on a long journey, you will be transported from your plane or train!