BOOK REVIEW - Torn Away, Forever

Torn Away, Forever
Yvonne Slee
downloadable as a PDF from website

Reviewed by M Veshengro Smith

While this book may work as a piece of badly researched romantic fiction on the Gypsy People, presenting us still in an entirely silly image to the Gohja eyes and minds, it does not work as a piece of factual history/family history of a Sinti family, not even by the farthest stretch of imagination.

Already in the introduction of the book, the author, claiming to be a Sintizza from Germany, now living in Australia, describes Gypsy caravans that are supposed to have been in Germany and encountered by her Grandmother as a child, but her description, in fact, of such caravans are that of Romanichal vardos in England. No Gypsy caravan in Germany - the ones called by some people “Holzrotell” - do ever have carvings of vines and the like, nor have they ever had. While there may have been some kind of painting or the other, most decorations were in the form of color outlines of windows, doors, and the like. The description she gives of the wagons her grandmother supposedly encountered does not tally with Gypsy wagons in Germany of that time or later.

We then, after the introduction, get treated to an even more imaginary story in the form of August's story who, as a baby, basically, was taken away to be fostered by Germans, does, so it claims, know Romanes. Not only is it claimed that he understands the Chib; nay, he even, so it says, is able to rokker it, to speak it, though not all that fluent. Rather strange, one can only say. I presume the author would claim that this be due to the Race Memory of the Gypsy People. While I strongly believe in the Race Memory it does not make it feasible though for someone who was torn away from his family while being a less than a year old babe in arms and not have heard the language around him nor grown up with it to be able to understand and speak it. It is a shame that people cannot keep a straight story.

Who is the writer trying to con?

In the part of the story where she is talking about Elsa's childhood she is mentioning an incident where a fellow girl at the school cut off Elsa's plait and the story continues with the child, supposedly, having been suspended from school for four weeks. While suspensions may have happened in schools in England and in Australia they did not, in those days, happen in German schools. Research goes a very long way when one is trying to tell tales that are to be believed. This is nearly as bad as when in the film Rambo III Apache helicopters and Cobras were used instead of Mil 24 Soviet ones.

I personally am having problems understanding why someone would concoct such a story but concocted it certainly is, as far as I as can be seen, for this author knows a thing or two about how things are as regards to Germany and its Gypsies, after WWII and also before and also as to the school system and other ways. Maybe the write of the book did not think that someone with such knowledge would encounter her book.

I would just like to add that I would not appreciate any threats by the author or her husband as happened before because of imaginary “attacks” upon her person by this author and our esteemed Kako Tom Odley. There is a rule amongst Rom and that is to speak the truth amongst one another. I do not care if a Romani fortune teller is trying to con the Gohja with whatever story but... amongst Rom Tatchipen should rule.

© M V Smith, 2007