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Fires in the Dark [Hardcover]

Louise Doughty
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: £16.99
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Book Description

6 May 2003
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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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; First Edition / First Impression edition (6 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743220870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743220873
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.2 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 948,367 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 a journalist and broadcaster. In 1990, she was the recipient of an Ian St James Award for a short story and a Radio Times Drama Award for her first play, MAYBE ME, both of which received widespread critical acclaim. She is the author of CRAZY PAVING, DANCE WITH ME and HONEYDEW and three plays for radio. She lives in London, N7.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 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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7 of 7 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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9 of 10 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could not put it down 5 Jun 2003
By A Customer
I had only the vaguest idea of the gypsy Holocaust, so found this a fascinating and very moving story. It begins with the struggles of Anna, a coppersmith Romany, to give birth to her son Yenko and ends with Yenko as the sole survivor of his tribe marrying a fellow-Romany orphan girl whom he met in a concentration camp. In between have come acts of cruelty and compassion. including Yenko's escape from the camp and murder of two elderly people in order to assume "gadjin" identity. It has you rooting for the whole tribe while knowing they are doomed by prejudice on both sides.
A compelling story. I am very glad to have discovered a new author.
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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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