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Gypsies have always intrigued and fascinated - partly because of their mysterious origins, and partly because of the romance of nomadism. But because they resist assimilation, having survived as a distinct people for over a thousand years, they have also been the victims of other people's nationalism and xenophobia. In this fascinating and timely study, Fonseca focuses particularly on the gypsies in Eastern Europe (an estimated 6 million), and their future as a distinct race within a nationalist Europe. While researching the book, Fonseca learned Romany and stayed with the gypsies, becoming deeply involved with their lives, and befriending several gypsy kings. The result is a clolourful and frank book, filled with enthusiasm and curiosity, without lapsing into piety or romanticism.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099740216
ISBN-10: 0099740214
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 25mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 5-Sep-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » A Gypsy once said to Fonseca: 'You will never learn our language. For every word you record in your little notebook, we have another one we don't want you to know.' Undaunted, she wrote this passionate and frank account of her travels among Roma (their name for their people), and of their 600-year history in Europe. Enslaved in 15th-century Transylvania, imprisoned in Nazi death camps, seeking asylum in Germany: Gypsies have learnt to survive by secrecy and self-misrepresentation - but can they find a collective voice in the arena of international ethnic politics? (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A journalist's vivid study of Eastern Europe's Gypsies (the Roma) that explores the myths, customs, and actuality of Gypsy life while addressing the central question of Gypsy identity in the post-Holocaust 20th century. Partly because they do not have a written tradition of their own, Gypsies have not figured prominently in mainstream scholarly and journalistic writing. Here Fonseca aims to give them the attention they deserve. Bury Me Standing is actually several works in one: socio-anthropological tieldwork, journalism, oral history, and colorful narrative. Although the ordering of its parts is at times chaotic, the study's diversity is an asset; it provides captivating, intimate accounts of Gypsy customs and gender and social relations, as well as serious consideration of scholarly debates and issues concerning the ill treatment of Gypsies in European history (slavery, persecution, the Holocaust, contemporary injustices). Fonseca has a knack for linking insight to wit and observation, as in this comment on Gypsy dogs: "All seem to be lame or one-eyed or stub-tailed, as if their main job wasn't to protect or to appear faithful but to make people feel better about their own shortcomings." But at the core of Fonseca's investigation lies her interest in the Gypsies' "continual self-reinvention" and their "search for a positive identity" to offset the reputation that burdens them in society. Some Gypsies have returned to their supposed Hindu roots. On the other hand, they have a strange reluctance to respond to the Holocaust (500,000 dead). If suppression of past Gypsy suffering continues, contends the author, their fate in the faltering democracies of Eastern Europe may be bleak. In the post - Cold War atmosphere of renewed nationalism and economic uncertainty, scapegoating is rampant. Fonseca's book comes at a crucial moment and could open an important discussion. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Isabel Fonseca

Isabel Fonseca was born in New York and educated at Columbia University and Oxford. She was an assistant editor at the Times Literary Supplement and has written for a wide range of publications, from the Wall Street Journal to Vogue. Her first book, Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey, has been an international bestseller and her first novel, Attachment, was published to critical acclaim in 2008. She lives in London with her husband and their two daughters.

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