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Portsmouth Publisher Wins Kirkus Kudos

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Kirkus Reviews, called “The World’s Toughest Book Critics,” has named Uncertain Journey, a new novel by author James Rouman published by Peter E. Randall Publisher of Portsmouth, NH, to this year’s “Best Indie of 2011.” Kirkus reviews more than 5,000 books each year but only named 50 as the top “Best Indie” books, honoring books from independent authors. (Continued below)



Kirkus editor Perry Crowe said this year’s list includes “books that caught our eye or blew our mind or touched our heart, some even earning Kirkus stars.” That includes Uncertain Journey, which earned a coveted Kirkus star review for what Kirkus called “a subtle, absorbing portrait of the immigrant experience.”

Peter E. Randall Publisher CEO Deidre Randall said, “Small press books are not always noticed by readers seeking a new favorite, but great writers all start out unknown. Jim is an ideal author; witty, thoughtful and tireless in his desire to find the next right word. Gaining the Kirkus recognition is just what Uncertain Journey deserves and I hope readers will pick it up, devour it and give it as a gift to other readers. We are so proud to be his publisher.”

Uncertain Journey is James Rouman’s second novel based in the Greek-American community he knows well as the son of Greek immigrants. But this “Greek” novel comes with a twist: the protagonist being an illegal alien—and a Muslim to boot—who has escaped from communist Albania only to find his best hope lies in “passing” for Greek both in Greece and later in America. Love soon complicates such subterfuges, as does the tight-rope act of beginning a new life based on an act that is, after all, a crime: illegal immigration.

Rouman pulls no punches in his depiction of his characters, both native and foreign-born. The author says he chose to deal with the theme of illegal immigration through the eyes of an Albanian to give readers the emotional space to step back from the politicized debate that treats illegal immigration as largely an Hispanic phenomenon.  As reviewer Julia Ann Charpentier writes, “An illegal immigrant is a human being, not a statistic, and this is the most important underlying message…[Rouman’s] descriptions bring to dramatic life an individual who simply wants to escape the bad conditions in his homeland for a better existence.”

More information and links to reviews can be found on James Rouman’s Web site

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