'Summer In The City State - Ceuta To Tangier Through Fortress Europe' was released in April of this year. Since its publication, there has been ample time for me to take stock of reactions to the book. Rightly, the off-kilter non-traditional structure of the book has been acknowledged; and I hope has been a refreshing break for readers from the traditional travel narrative setup. In fact, in the initial stages, the book was never approached from a travel writing perspective; and I can’t write to fit neatly-drawn genre categories to begin with. The book was more of an attempt to give a quick glimpse into the borders of Fortress Europe, namely via Ceuta to Tangier’s international crossing point, from the perspective of a (white European privileged?) person who happened to the be holding the right type of passport.
But I have also heard readers misinterpret some encounters I had within the book. Meeting refugees has never been a negative or ‘danger’-point for me; the ‘dangerous refugee’ is in reality a ‘fiction’. Although I probably (wrongly) assumed most others recognised steroetype. Meeting refugees, people seeking safety, is more a negative reflection of our societies apathy for the welfare of others. I think my anger at seeing refugee families spread across Ceuta and around the alleys of Tangier more than highlighted what a twisted restrictive setup international borders have become. Despite the dark situations quiet evident in the shadows of the book, Ceuta is an intriguing place to visit and has a striking beauty. Tangier has an exciting on-edge spirit all unto itself. It remains one of my favourite cities.
Contradictions, Negatives, and Positives is a mix that makes for some of the best experiences. I hope ‘Summer In The City State’ gives a flavour of this. You can decide for yourself and grab a free Kindle copy over the next few days at the link below. Or just pick up a paperback of the book if you, like me, prefer the medium of old-skool reading.
~ Eamonn, December 2016.
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Eamonn Sheehy - travel writing with a focus on people and culture.