Little Money Street by Fernanda Eberstadt.

L

A very rich treasure this non-fiction book is. Eberstadt, clearly a
well-educated and successful writer, who was always drawn to gypsies,
moves unhappily with husband and two children to Perpignan, a town at
the end of the line in southern France. She, with a great effort, meets
gypsies, and despite formidable barriers between them, makes lasting
friends. She is especially drawn to the music and meets one of the best
known musicians, who was the heart of a group called Tekameli, whose
CDs are readily available. The message of the book is the great divide
between the culture of the gypsies and the rest of France. The gypsy
culture is hard to love — women are unspeakably oppressed, many
gypsies are illiterate, routine jobs are just not acceptable in the
gypsy world, planning ahead is not a value, and it goes on. This book
is the best statement I can imagine of the wonders of seeing people
wildly different from you and loving them anyway. A beautiful book,
written with a light and literary touch, with a nuanced view.

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