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The tale of a Gypsy,
This review is from: Zoli (Hardcover)
Using the true story of the Gypsy poet Papusza, Colum McCann tells the story of Zoli Novotna, a Romani, a poet, a singer and a Communist. Her family was drowned by Facist guards and her grandfather was forced to flee and join a group of travelling musicians. After the Second World War she became a member of a group of Communist intellectuals, among them Stephen Swann, a young English journalist who is partly the narrator of the novel. Then the Czech Communist party decided to use Zoli - by then quite famous - as a symbol figure for resettlement and political propaganda. She tried to resist but soon realised that not even her poetical works could prevent a judgement which ultimately led her to misery.
One wonders whether such a character is worth a novel of some 260 pages. However what makes the book worth reading is the fact that it is very well researched from a social and political point of view and readers interested in the history of Central Europe - Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Austria - from the 1930s till the Velvet Revolution in Prague will find it quite interesting.