cover image Russian Gypsy Tales

Russian Gypsy Tales

. Interlink Publishing Group, $10.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-1-56656-100-6

This thought-provoking anthology offers compelling insights into the often highly romanticized life of the gypsy. (A few old photographs of actual gypsies add to the book's exoticism.) As translator Riordan states in his informative introduction, these 36 stories ``lift just a corner of the curtain that obscures Russian Rom traditions, mysteries, and beliefs.'' The narratives--some only single-page vignettes--will be generally unfamiliar, as they were garnered from gypsy clans all over the unified nation. Readers will meet fortune tellers, horse traders, handsome gypsy lovers, goblins. There is both adventure (``The Enchanted Hinny'') and romance (``Vasya Whitefeet''); stories tell of clan rivalries, outwitting the devil, winning the proper bride. Whimsical black-and-white illustrations, like Wanda Gag's prepossessing drawings of several decades ago, decorate the book. An unusual and substantial volume. Ages 9-up. (Dec.)