Connecticut Medicine

With his second novel, Uncertain Journey, our writer-doctor colleague, Dr. James Rouman, has spun a story with several merging strands. A fateful love story of two young people, a Greek-American woman and an Albanian man, each attempting to loosen rigid ties of culture and society. Eudoxia is a woman less interested in a match made in the tradition of her family’s observed culture; Rejep is a young Albanian in flight from poverty and a repressive government. The two meet on neutral ground where empathy leads to friendship, and later, romantic love.
Gathering obstacles to their relationship emerge: the unwillingness of Eudoxia’s mother to even consider a non-Greek son-in-law, and the threatened exposure of Rejep’s illegal presence in America by an angry, perverse tenant living in the condominium building where Rejep works. Hope, formed of friendships offered by Ivany Zoltan, Rejep’s supervisor, Suzie DeWolf, a kinder tenant, and Cosmos, Eudoxia’s father, will not be sufficient to protect Rejep for long before he must leave America. America, a country of immigrants, priding itself as a Welcoming nation, has not been able to find an easy path to citizenship for such a stranger as Rejep.
So the lovers part, exchanging tender words and promises, yielding to the final inevitability. Rejep, the reader knows, will not escape entrapment as he tries to cross into Canada.
A temporary defeat has left a door ajar, and for Dr. Rouman, perhaps the opportunity for a sequel.
—James M. Streeto, MD, Wethersfield, Connecticut Medicine review, September 2011

Readers’ Comments

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

Kirkus Review

“The most intimate—and interesting—sections of the novel are the descriptions of anesthesiology: ‘We have a connection to our patients no other doctors have… when they’re asleep there’s a constant dialogue going on between us… only the linguistics are different… It’s almost a spiritual thing that’s hard to explain.'” —Kirkus Review of Underwater Dreams

Uncertain Journey – Readers’ Comments

“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. . . .”
— Stephen Trzaskoma, Ph.D., Professor of Classics, University of New Hampshire

Featured Book

Underwater Dreams, A Modern Greek Tragedy, Featured Book on this popular Greek website and blog: DailyFrappe

Hartford Public Library

“Hooray for Downtown Dweller, Jim Rouman. . . 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.” Read the full article