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Zoli by Colum McCann
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Zoli (2007)

by Colum McCann

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English (18)  German (3)  Dutch (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Roma or Gypsy is a topic I've not read before. But such a life! Set in the 1930-2000 in Eastern Europe this is haunting, poetic, and complicated. Mostly I liked McCann's descriptions, characters, and story, and though it took me awhile to get into this, it is a recommended read. ( )
  EllenH | Sep 6, 2013 |
Beautifully written treatment regarding the role of language, poetry and music in the midst of stifling repression. Not for the faint of heart. ( )
  mabroms | Sep 3, 2013 |
Nice anthropological look into Eastern European gypsy traditions and taboos. The story assumes a level of knowledge about civil war in Eastern Europe that most of us don't have, but it was still an engaging story. ( )
  sushitori | Aug 1, 2013 |
Once again, Colum McCann deonstrates a gifted ability to tun a phrase and tell a story. Journey into the very soul of Zoli, fashioned after a famous Romany poetess. Travel Eastern Europe as she must survive by first being co-opted as a Gypsy spectacle then as a wounded, hunted, shunned victim of her times and her ancestry. Feel her pain, her joy, and her spiritual journey as revealed by McCann's elegant, soulful prose. Fabulous book! ( )
  hemlokgang | Apr 8, 2013 |
There is so much of interest in this novel. I found the writing to be slightly inconsistent - sometimes really tight, sometimes not really moving the story along. McCann's ability to write the character and voice of someone so opposite himself is impressive. Zoli felt very authentic. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Apr 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
If you keep quiet, you die. If you speak, you die. So speak and die. Tahar Djaout.
But in our century, when only eveil and indifference are limitless, we cannot afford unnecessary questions; rather, we need to defend ourselves with whatever there is to hand of certainty. I know that you remember... John Berger "And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos"
To get back before dark is the art of going. Wendell Berry "The Collected Poems of Wendell Berry 1957-1982"
Dedication
For Allison, Isabella, John Michael, and Christian Much of this novel was written and researched while I was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. It is dedicated to all of those at the library and to libraians everywhere: thank you.
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He drives alongside the small steambed, and the terrible shitscape looms up by increments - upturned buckets by the bend in the river, a broken baby carriage in the weeds, a petrol drum leaking out tounge of rust, the carcass of a fridge in the brambles.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812973984, Paperback)

A unique love story, a tale of loss, a parable of Europe, this haunting novel is an examination of intimacy and betrayal in a community rarely captured so vibrantly in contemporary literature.

Zoli Novotna, a young woman raised in the traveling Gypsy tradition, is a poet by accident as much as desire. As 1930s fascism spreads over Czechoslovakia, Zoli and her grandfather flee to join a clan of fellow Romani harpists. Sharpened by the world of books, which is often frowned upon in the Romani tradition, Zoli becomes the poster girl for a brave new world. As she shapes the ancient songs to her times, she finds her gift embraced by the Gypsy people and savored by a young English expatriate, Stephen Swann.

But Zoli soon finds that when she falls she cannot fall halfway–neither in love nor in politics. While Zoli’s fame and poetic skills deepen, the ruling Communists begin to use her for their own favor. Cast out from her family, Zoli abandons her past to journey to the West, in a novel that spans the 20th century and travels the breadth of Europe.

Colum McCann, acclaimed author of Dancer and This Side of Brightness, has created a sensuous novel about exile, belonging and survival, based loosely on the true story of the Romani poet Papsuza. It spans the twentieth century and travels the breadth of Europe. In the tradition of Steinbeck, Coetzee, and Ondaatje, McCann finds the art inherent in social and political history, while vividly depicting how far one gifted woman must journey to find where she belongs.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:27 -0400)

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Join the imperiled world of the Slovakian Romanies from World War II through the establishment of the Communist bloc.

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Colum McCann is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Colum McCann chatted with LibraryThing members from Mar 1, 2010 to Mar 14, 2010. Read the chat.

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