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Fires in the Dark: The Longest Journey Leads You Back Home [Paperback]

Louise Doughty
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 April 2003
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.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Earthlight (30 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743220889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743220880
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,169,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


New Statesman Amanda Craig 'Louise Doughty's Fires in the Dark is a harrowing and wholly absorbing account of the gypsy Holocaust, and how one man survives it' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Louise Doughty is the author of five novels, CRAZY PAVING, DANCE WITH ME, HONEY-DEW, FIRES IN THE DARK and STONE CRADLE. CRAZY PAVING was shortlisted for four awards including the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize and FIRES IN THE DARK won awards from the Arts Council of England and the K.Blundell Trust. She is also a recipient of an Ian St. James prize and a Radio Times Drama Award. She has written five plays for radio and worked widely as a journalist and broadcaster in London, where she lives. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars memorable and unusual take on the Holocaust 30 July 2004
By A Customer HALL OF FAME
As well as murdering 6 million Jews, Hitler did his best to exterminate the Gypsies. This is the story of how just one escaped, Yenko, from a copper-working Romany tribe, thanks to the sacrifice made by his heroic mother, and his own luck and intelligence. His birth, childhood and journey into manhood against the background of the Nazi rise to power make history live. Doughty is herself part-Romany, and writes with real passion and insight as well as what looks like a lot of research. Her characters break your heart.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a brilliant book! 1 Jun 2004
This is a wonderful book, moving and passionate. The characters are real and touchable. The story is full of the kind of true detail that's completely absorbing. It tells the story of a Romani family and how their lives are destroyed by the Nazi's. Its a tough subject, but this book is really worth it. It doesn't shy away from the realities, but neither does it dwell unnecessarily on the worst of it. The places and major events are based on fact. So I learned a lot, as well as being totally gripped by a brilliant story. Buy this book!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Up to now, Louise Doughty has written fairly small scale domestic dramas, entertaining but limited in their scope. With this book she stakes a claim as a serious novelist tackling the biggest issues and succeeds brilliantly. The history of a gypsy family in eastern europe during the second world war can only be a tragic story. Doughty turns an unflinching eye on the worst that humans can do to each other, with an anger that is barely suppressed, but without resorting to simplistic value judgements. The story is dark and the misery is piled up until you wish for some joy to lighten the mood, but Doughty builds your interest in her characters so that you can't stop reading.
The subject matter of the book is likely to put off a lot of people. Sadly, anti-gypsy prejudice is alive and well, from Romania to Norfolk. This matters to Doughty and she has devoted energy and passion into this book. Don't be put off. Read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gypsy Holocaust 13 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Fires in the dark" by Louise Doughty

I enjoyed this author's "Stone cradle", a story of Romani in the United Kingdom, so much that I determined to read others if I could find them.

This is the one I found, dealing with the lives of East European Romani from 1927 to 1945.You will be aware of what happened in Europe over that period.

Emil, whose secret name is Yenko, is one of the main protagonists. We follow him while his group is on their travels, in winter settlements, cherry harvesting and other things, watching as life and travel become much more difficult for them as a result of increasing government burocracy, new travel papers etc, all of this being aimed at making it easier to keep track of the Romani and to control them.

We read of invasions, battles, conquest by the Nazi armies, and eventual round-ups of the Romani groups, followed by transportation to concentration camps.

Emil escapes, following urging by his mother, and makes his way to Prague where he lives out the war, working on the black market as the only method available to him to keep safe and make a living. Near the end of the war he goes back to the camp to see if any of his family have survived.

This is a brief summary of a harrowing, and yet hopeful, story. There is plenty of incident, personality clash, humour and horror. I was surprised to learn that, per head of population, more Romani died under the Nazis than Jews, horrifying as the Jewish experience was.

I recommend that you read this book. No matter how good a person you are, I think you will be an uplifted and even better person as a result.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fires in the Dark 5 Mar 2004
By Helen
I think the combination of reading a good story, learning about different cultures and history rolled into one makes this book fascinating, sad, and thought provoking. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as the story came to life for me. I will be reading Louise Doughty's other books to see if they are of a similar quality.
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