Thursday, December 09, 2010

Book Review: Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca

It took me forever to get through this book. I don’t know why. Maybe just the craziness of life. But alas. A few people told me it was THE book to read if I wanted to understand Gypsies better. Since they’re pretty much ubiquitous in Romania, and I have only been able to acquire piecemeal information and a lot of racist undertones from Romanians, I thought it might be a good idea to read a book. 

Fonseca lived and traveled with Gypsies from various countries in Eastern Europe, learning their culture, language, and ways of life. She interviewed loads of people, but also did a good amount of book research. This book was written in the mid-90s, so I think the intensity of the situation was different (worse) then, but the Gypsies are still (by and large) considered to be a Problem, a Nuisance, and the average Romanian will speak incredibly poorly of them. I found this book to be helpful in understanding a broader scope (in time and location) of the Gypsies and their story. I liked the mix of personal narratives and historical accounts. As I’ve lived in Romania for nearly two years now, there was much in the book that made me nod and say, “Ahhhh, yes, that makes sense.” And pictures! Gosh I love books with pictures! If you’re interested in learning more about the Gypsies from a source that is more sympathetic to their situation than most I’ve seen/heard, this is the book to read. 

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