Borderline Citizen: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood

Borderline Citizen: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood

by Robin Hemley


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


In Borderline Citizen Robin Hemley wrestles with what it means to be a citizen of the world, taking readers on a singular journey through the hinterlands of national identity. As a polygamist of place, Hemley celebrates Guy Fawkes Day in the contested Falkland Islands; Canada Day and the Fourth of July in the tiny U.S. exclave of Point Roberts, Washington; Russian Federation Day in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad; Handover Day among protesters in Hong Kong; and India Day along the most complicated border in the world.

Forgoing the exotic descriptions of faraway lands common in traditional travel writing, Borderline Citizen upends the genre with darkly humorous and deeply compassionate glimpses into the lives of exiles, nationalists, refugees, and others. Hemley’s superbly rendered narratives detail these individuals, including a Chinese billionaire who could live anywhere but has chosen to situate his ornate mansion in the middle of his impoverished ancestral village, a black nationalist wanted on thirty-two outstanding FBI warrants exiled in Cuba, and an Afghan refugee whose intentionally altered birth date makes him more easy to deport despite his harrowing past.

Part travelogue, part memoir, part reportage, Borderline Citizen redefines notions of nationhood through an exploration of the arbitrariness of boundaries and what it means to belong.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496220417
Publisher: Nebraska
Publication date: 03/01/2020
Series: American Lives
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Robin Hemley is the author of numerous books, including Invented EdenReply All: StoriesA Field Guide for Immersion Writing; Nola; Turning Life into Fiction; and Do-Over! He has won many awards for his writing, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Pushcart Prizes, as well as residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the Bogliasco Foundation, the Fine Arts Work in Provincetown, the MacDowell Colony, and others.  

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue: The Traveler in the Twenty-First Century
Walled Citizens
No One Will See Me Again Forever
The Great Land Swap
Don’t Be Too Difficult
Close Calls with a Potentially Violent Felon in Cuba
They Have Forgotten Many Things
Mr. Chen’s Mountain
To the Rainforest Room
Celebrating Russian Federation Day with Immanuel Kant
Field Notes for the Graveyard Enthusiast
Survivor Stories
Independence Days

Customer Reviews