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Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey [Paperback]

Isabel Fonseca
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 29 1996 Vintage Departures
Isabel Fonseca describes the four years she spent with Gypsies from Albania to Poland, listening to their stories, deciphering their taboos, and befriending their matriarchs, activists, and child prostitutes. A masterful work of personal reportage, this volume is also a vibrant portrait of a mysterious people and an essential document of a disappearing culture. 50 photos.

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Customers buy this book with Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies CDN$ 8.40

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Product Description

From Amazon

They travel endlessly and seem to appear almost everywhere, yet they are the world's most mysterious people: Gypsies. Isabel Fonseca has done the impossible, entering into their world, living and traveling with Gypsies during several long trips to Eastern Europe, and she has brought back an insightful, highly personal, and very readable account of who the Gypsies are and how they live. The Gypsies have a legendary aversion to "gadje," or outsiders, but Fonseca has lifted the curtain and written gracefully about their lives on the edge of society. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

An exploration of the frequently persecuted and misunderstood Gypsy population of eastern Europe.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
USUALLY ON MY journeys in Eastern Europe I traveled alone and made friends along the way. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A strong effort... Dec 2 2000
...to give some definition to a mysterious ethnic group. Fonseca offers rich details of Gypsy life, culled from numerous visits with European Roma in the early 1990s. Her writing sometimes gets a little thick and scholarly, but it's worth muddling through, especially if this is a particular area of interest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The ambiguities of cultural identity March 10 2010
Are dying cultures an irrepressible phenomenon we should learn to accept, however grudgingly, or are we obligated to fight tooth and nail to revive and restore fading traditions, languages, rites and lore? What if this "dying out" is encouraged by the dominating and ethnocentric majorities who "host" such disappearing cultures? Where are the borders distinguishing multiculturalism from assimilation, or isolation from community?

Such prescient questions are threaded through Isabella Fonseca's fascinating journalistic exploration of Gypsy (or Roma) culture in Europe. Fonseca spent four years among various Gypsy neighbourhoods, villages and traveling caravans from Albania and Romania to Germany and France. Her graceful and spare prose flows without sentimentality between vivid detail of family life in the city slums, heartfelt insight into the beauty and dark realities of the culture, and devastating social analysis.

This is a wonderful read -- a thorough, realist, engaging insight into a very misunderstood people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Living with the Gypsies April 27 2004
Isabel Fonseca holds no punches when she writes about the gypsies. The author tells it like it is and makes no excuses for the lifestyle the gypsies choose to live with. The layout of the book is pretty good and the limited use of photos actaully enhances the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Focuses on Gypsy plight more than history Jan. 23 2003
Whether the author is unfairly blaming Eurpeans and their racism and excusing Gypsy failings, as suggested by another reviewer, is up to the reader to decide.
This debate is the focus of the book, however, and the reader should be aware of it. There is some history of the Gypsies--where they came from, the roots of their language, and interesting data showing that they were originally imported to Europe as slaves.
But, this takes up only one chapter in any detail. The rest of the book emphasizes the plight of the Gypsies and how they have been treated by the countries they live in. Whatever you think about how the Gypsies may have brought some of it on themselves, as the reviewer who had been to Romania implied, one can't deny the brazen racism with which the Gypsies have been treated. I will also think of this book the next time a European hypocritically criticizes racism in America.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! Sept. 2 2002
This book is one of the best modern overviews of gypsies today, dealing with trials and troubles. The author deals with the situation of the Roma in post-Communist Eastern Europe with a slightly biased eye, but if you take some things with a grain of salt, this book is a wonderful read and you might learn something too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond stereotypes Dec 23 2001
This book opens with a chapter on the great Romany poet, Papusza (born as Bronislawa Wajs), which appeared earlier in The New Yorker. As Fonseca tells us, Papusza wrote a long autobiographical ballad about hiding in the forests during World War II--"Bloody Tears: What We Went Through Under the Germans in Volhynia in the Years 43 and 44." Discovered by the Polish poet Jerzy Ficowski in 1949, Papusza also wrote of the Jewish experience and "the vague threat of the gadjikane" (non-Gypsy) world." But her 1987 death in Poland, where she had lived most of her life, went unnoticed.
That is an appropriate beginning, for this book is not academic anthropology--and it more than admirably explains, from the Roma point of view, what it means to live in a world that remains largely threatening to the Roma. The book is not uniformly complimentary. But Fonseca lived for a period with Roma families, learned their separate and distinct Romany language, traveled across Eastern Europe with them, observed the poverty-stricken ghettos and mud hovels in which the poorest made their beds. And one finds in her closeness to them a sympathy altogether lacking in many other works.
Fonseca writes of her own extensive experience, of course, but also refers to more than 140 scholars, including the fine work of Rom professor Ian Hancock and Jan Yoors. The latter likewise lived among Roma, albeit during the pre-war and World War II eras.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bold, highly creative, brilliant, fascinating July 12 2001
Isabel Fonseca has endeavered on a fascinating task requiring mounds of research and spending hundreds of hours with Roma people. She constructs a brilliant, highly creative work documenting the struggles, challenges and life stories of Roma people in Eastern Europe. Fonseca looks beneath stereotypes to get at the truth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An uncommon view into a secret people Feb. 19 2001
Isabel Fonseca does not write as an anthropologist; she has opinions, and is sometimes quite forthright about her negative feeling. She has documented her travels in Bulgaria and Albania, where she visits various Gypsy families in their shantytowns. The impoverishment of Albania is accentuated for the Gypsies, who traditionally shun education and a trade in favor of a nomadic existence. These semi-permanent Gypsies never merge with the people around them, instead staying separate and still abiding by cleanliness laws special to Rom culture. Even the more well-off Rom families live their own special way and stay remote from the world around them.
Despite her lack of "objectivity" or perhaps because of it, Fonseca writes a compelling book about the daily live and struggles of Rom in various Eastern European countries. It can perhaps be compared to Oscar Lewis' Five Families, a well-known anthropological look at family life across economic levels in Mexico.
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