As a person who is interested in folktales AND interested in the history and way of life of the little-understood Romany people, this book was an irresistible 'must buy.' And I was not only not disappointed, I found myself wanting more.
Taken all together, these stories offer insight into the way of thinking which the Romany people have inherited and developed during their centuries of roaming the earth. They take their homes with them, make community with other Rom in their particular tribe, find cohesion within the brotherhood of each particular tribe, leadership under their particular chosen 'chief' or ataman, and have developed a very strong, and in many ways attractive, society.
These stories are apparently particular to Russian gypsies, so I don't know how much in common they may have with gypsy clans that live in other parts of the world. Indeed, this is only a small window on their society, but one that focuses attention on the traits they value (cleverness, adaptability, courage and competence) and on things they fear (death, poverty, lack of kin, lack of love) and how they view the world and each other.
The stories themselves are fascinating, and do not follow any particular pattern. Some end happily, some not. Some show a great deal of wisdom, some seem to be just for fun. I know I read the book from start to finish in one sitting, and my attention never flagged.
I do highly recommend this book.