A Gypsy boy, born to a travelling tribe, must survive the Second World War to discover love and his own true identity. It is 1927. Yenko is born in a barn in rural Bohemia to a tribe of Coppersmith Gypsies. Traditional people who survive by plying their skills as they travel throughout Central Europe, they live through the Depression and the rise ...
A Gypsy boy, born to a travelling tribe, must survive the Second World War to discover love and his own true identity. It is 1927. Yenko is born in a barn in rural Bohemia to a tribe of Coppersmith Gypsies. Traditional people who survive by plying their skills as they travel throughout Central Europe, they live through the Depression and the rise of Nazism. But the greatest danger comes from the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the German army. Yenko escapes the clutches of the invaders but is forced to adopt many guises in order to survive and rescue his family and his love. If he succeeds he can truly become a Romany man - but in the end who is he? From the rural Gypsy traditions of the inter-war era, through the Nazi invasion, culminating in the drama of the Prague Uprising of May 1945, Louise Doughty has created a breathtaking novel of grand scope, based on the history of the Romany people and her own family ancestry.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-10-20 British novelist Doughty (Dance with Me) takes Holocaust literature in a new direction with her chronicle of the fates of a nomadic Romany family. Emil, the light-skinned first child of the leader of a Kalderash Roma tribe, is born in 1927, just as "persons of no fixed abode" are being fingerprinted and made to carry identification papers. Raised by the mild, loving Josef and the strong, lovely Anna, Emil knows that the customs of Roma differ from those of gadje (anyone not a Roma), who eat with utensils instead of fingers and send their children to school instead of teaching them how to gut a chicken and raise a shelter. A few years later, he becomes aware of another way in which the Roma are different: the Nazi regime in Germany, bent on ethnic cleansing, is murdering Jews and harassing Gypsies. When he's 15, Emil and his family are incarcerated in a Moravian labor camp. Doughty recounts the horrifying conditions of the camp in unrelenting detail; the only bright moments come with a mad cook's reminiscences about a career selling Hoover vacuums and Emil's budding friendship with Marie, another young Gypsy. Though Emil's father and siblings die, he escapes and makes his way to Prague, where, due to his light skin, he passes as a gadjo. With false papers and a false limp, Emil returns to the camp to rescue his mother, only to discover that everyone has been sent to Auschwitz. Doughty, whose own ancestors were Romany nomads, tells a heartrending tale of individuals struggling against unimaginable horrors, but offers readers a ray of hope at her novel's close. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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