The Atlas of Unusual Borders

The Atlas of Unusual Borders by Zoran Nikolić (translated by Nada Milosavljević) [1] is the second book I have read by that author, following The Atlas of Unusual Languages. Nikolić wrote not only about international borders between countries, but freaky enclave situations that occur within countries and stories about cities split in two. He dealt with maritime frontiers too, such as the odd doughnut-hole maritime zone that surrounds St. Pierre and Miquelon. If you are already a border freak then you won’t learn anything new, but the maps, in vivid yellow, red and dark blue, were a pleasure to look at, although they were often wide splashes of colour with minimal details.

I was puzzled by some entries. Why, for example, write about Andorra? Its borders are not unusual, yet its political history is. And that is what Nikolić wrote about. That did not belong in a book about unusual borders. And he covered the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, two insular British Crown dependencies. Where are the borders there? He did cover Baarle-Nassau/Baarle-Hertog, Campione d’Italia, Büsingen and Point Roberts. I have been to all of those places.

The font was small enough to require reading with a magnifying glass, especially when white text overlaid maps which offered minimal contrast.

[1] No credit to a translator was given for The Atlas of Unusual Languages, as that book was written two years later. Nikolić did thank Milosavljević however for her help in “editing [his] translations”.

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