- Author: Rocio Vargas Herrera
- Paperback: 372 pages
- Publisher: Createspace Independent Pub; 2 edition (23 April 2018)
- Language: English
BLURB as on Goodreads
With her novel Echoes of my Clan, Rocío Vargas Herrera has managed to clarify any doubts about the feelings and way of thinking of the gypsies. Her agile, eloquent and easy to read pen takes us by the hand through the experiences and sufferings of the main character; first, as a girl who must live in the world of the whites, away from her clan, and then as an adult woman during the terrifying times of the Second World War, including the repressive era of Franco in Spain. Their indomitable character and sense of responsibility shape their path and catch us from the beginning. It is an interesting, dynamic, entertaining novel that is worth reading.
Are you curious about any culture, in particular?
I have always been fascinated by the gypsies. Their free nature and carefree living excite me. But what I didn’t know was there is a whole clan of gypsies. It has been I existence for a long long time and that Nazi rule, the World War, somewhere took a toll on their identity.
Echoes of my Clan by Rocio Vargas Herrera is historical fiction that throws light on the culture of gypsies, Gitanos. The protagonist of the story, Carlota, is a Gitano who has to struggle to get an education. Her life is full of tragedies and setbacks that reveal the gypsy culture and the atrocities of the war, in parallel. She is the narrator of this book who voices her happiness, her grief, her connection with her roots, as well as her responsibilities. The book manages to deliver some of the profound life lessons as well.
Carlota got a chance at pursuing her education with the Gachos, who Gitanos don’t really like. But after a few years, she is married off young to Herminio. Thereafter, the couple moves to the city for better opportunities. And the two are blessed with two sons. However, when the war broke out in Spain, things go downhill. Carlota’s husband and children are dead and she returns to her village. When she feels that her life has lost its meaning, she realizes the higher purpose of her existence. That’s where the book truly began for me.
The story subtly presents the intricacies of the gypsy culture and how it got assimilated into Spain’s culture in the aftermath of the war. This integration was painful and drastic so much so that we no more find the real gypsy culture thriving around us. The narrative did give me a clear view of war happenings. The language is simple and narration is smooth. However, I found it a bit dragged in the latter half of the book. But the outstanding life lessons just compensated for everything I felt amiss. And more than that, I was happy to read about a culture I have only known at the surface level.
I would recommend this book to all those who are interested in exploring the relationship between Gachos and Gitanos and their connection with the World War.
MY RATING: 4/ 5
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