Thursday, August 14, 2008

Top 10 literary Gypsies

Jessica Duchen's most recent novel is Hungarian Dances.

For the Guardian, she named her top 10 literary Gypsies.

She writes: "It's fascinating that century after century, Gypsies are both the most romanticised people on earth and the most vilified: this is almost as much the case now as it was two centuries ago. Writers, of course, have been milking the situation for donkey's years. My second novel, Hungarian Dances, tells the story of a British-born violinist, Karina, whose discovery of hidden truths about her Hungarian family history and her formidable grandmother Mimi's Roma background challenges her own sense of identity."

One title on Duchen's list:
Mr Rochester (in disguise) in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre

Mr Rochester takes advantage of the much-caricatured superstition that Gypsies are clairvoyant, and with good reason: when he disguises himself as a Gypsy fortune-teller, it gives him the power over Jane and Blanche to see beyond the superficial niceties that the women present to his usual incarnation. Jane is terrified by the fortune-teller's aspect – afraid of "her" dark skin, and of something or someone different from herself. Simultaneously, of course, she's transfixed.
Read about the other nine titles.

The Page 99 Test: Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.

Jane Eyre also made the Guardian's top 10 list of "outsider books" and its top 10 list of romantic fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue