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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent collection of stories, 3 Oct 2001
This review is from: Russian Gypsy Tales: Traditional Russian Folk Tales (International Folk Tales) (Paperback)
This book contains an delightful collection of short stories traditional to the Russian gypsies, collected and translated. They offer an excellent insight into gypsy life, religious beliefs and traditions, and many are suitable for all ages. Have an open mind and try this book, you won't be disappointed. The only reason why I don't give it five stars is that although the introduction is good, I would have liked a little more on the history of the Russian Romany. That said, the book is accessible, the stories are very entertaining and informative about a group of which comparably little is known (as opposed to presupposition and stereotype).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating folk tales and insight into Romany lore, 15 Feb 2014
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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.
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