Tuesday, December 23, 2008
First off, I'm severely annoyed that when I google for an image of the cover, all I get are pictures of the Jolie-Pitt kids. Hello, Google? Not all of us are into the children of celebrities. In fact, I never even made the connection between the book's title and you-know-who until Google bombarded me with images I didn't want to see. And yes, that includes the first image of a tattoo.
Okay, where was I? Oh yes. Angelina(the gypsy)'s Children. Another spur-of-the-moment pick for me. And I'm not really sure what I think of this one. It's actually a French novel (in translation, because I in no way read French. Or any other language.) and it won a French literary prize. But I'm ashamed to say I've never heard of the French literary prize, and I'm not even sure why it won.
Angelina(the gypsy)'s Children is a story about a family of gypsies, and a librarian who visits their camp once a week to read stories to the children. And really, that about sums it up, because there's not much happening in the way of plot. The book focuses heavily on the gypsy lifestyle, and the marriages of Angelina(the gypsy)'s sons, and how dirty and illiterate they all are, and how there isn't much of a work ethic in the men. I can't decide if the book is condescending or not. It certain plays up the stereotype of gypsies.
On the other hand, the four daughters-in-law were interesting, and I kept reading because I was curious as to how their stories played out. Esther the librarian was simply the woman who visited once a week. Other than her interactions with the family, we never saw her with her own family or at her job. And I'm confused as to how she could hold a job what with all the time she seemed to spend with the gypsies. And other than Anita and Sandro and Michael, the kids were pretty much indistinguishable. So were some of the men, for that matter.
Oh, and get this...the quote on the back cover describes the book as "A beautifully feminine and fertile book." Huh? Maybe that didn't translate well.
Maybe I'm being a bit harsh. The book was short and I read it in a couple of sittings and I didn't not like it. But I'm not going to gush about it either.