Fires in the Dark: A Novel

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9780060571221: Fires in the Dark: A Novel

His breathing was so slight she could scarcely detect it, even when she lowered her face to his. The smell of him, like new bread, or was it her smell? She could not tell. He and I smell identical, she thought, smiling in the darkness. The barn was softly warm, and the warmth and softness wrapped around mother and child as they curled together in the gloom, breathed together, smelled the same.'Yenko,' Anna whispered in her son's ear.'Your real name is Yenko.'

It is 1927. In the heart of Central Europe, a son is born to Josef, leader of a nomadic group of Coppersmith Gypsies, and his wife, Anna. For the benefit of most people he is named Emil, but his real name, known only to his mother, is Yenko.

Born in a time of peace and prosperity, Yenko grows up during the Great Depression of the 1930s and is then caught up in the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and in World War II. Soon he and his family are fugitives. . . . Their flight will end in tragedy for some and miraculous escape for others. . . .

From the inter war years through the drama of the Prague uprising of 1945, Fires in the Dark is a breathtaking novel of epic scope. Louise Doughty has created an authentic and compassionate portrayal of Romany life -- and a celebration of a greatly misunderstood culture, told through the story of one family living in an extraordinary time in history.

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About the Author:

Louise Doughty is the author of the novels Crazy Paving, Dance with Me, Honey-Dew, Fires in the Dark, and Stone Cradle, as well as the nonfiction book A Novel in a Year, based on her popular newspaper column. She has written plays for radio and has worked widely as a critic, broadcasting regularly for BBC Radio 4. She lives in London.

From Publishers Weekly:

British novelist Doughty (Dance with Me) takes Holocaust literature in a new direction with her chronicle of the fates of a nomadic Romany family. Emil, the light-skinned first child of the leader of a Kalderash Roma tribe, is born in 1927, just as "persons of no fixed abode" are being fingerprinted and made to carry identification papers. Raised by the mild, loving Josef and the strong, lovely Anna, Emil knows that the customs of Roma differ from those of gadje (anyone not a Roma), who eat with utensils instead of fingers and send their children to school instead of teaching them how to gut a chicken and raise a shelter. A few years later, he becomes aware of another way in which the Roma are different: the Nazi regime in Germany, bent on ethnic cleansing, is murdering Jews and harassing Gypsies. When he's 15, Emil and his family are incarcerated in a Moravian labor camp. Doughty recounts the horrifying conditions of the camp in unrelenting detail; the only bright moments come with a mad cook's reminiscences about a career selling Hoover vacuums and Emil's budding friendship with Marie, another young Gypsy. Though Emil's father and siblings die, he escapes and makes his way to Prague, where, due to his light skin, he passes as a gadjo. With false papers and a false limp, Emil returns to the camp to rescue his mother, only to discover that everyone has been sent to Auschwitz. Doughty, whose own ancestors were Romany nomads, tells a heartrending tale of individuals struggling against unimaginable horrors, but offers readers a ray of hope at her novel's close.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Doughty, Louisa.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition.. 481 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. Like New. FICTION. It is 1927. In the heart of Central Europe, a son is born to Josef, leader of a nomadic group of Coppersmith Gypsies, and his wife, Anna. For the benefit of most people he is named Emil, but his real name, known only to his mother, is Yenko. Born in a time of peace and prosperity, Yenko grows up during the Great Depression of the 1930s and is then caught up in the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia and in World War II. "Louise Doughty is a fine writer with Gypsy ancestry, and her fourth novel is the first of a projected series in which she explores the world of European Gypsies. . . . It is a big, original book with a fascinating prespecitve on these other Europeans." -- Observer (Key Words: Novels, Gypsies, Fiction, Louisa Doughty, Romanies, Nazi Persecution). book. Bookseller Inventory # 86587X1

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