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American Gypsy: A Memoir Paperback – July 3, 2012
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“Engaging . . . Marafioti describes with humor and introspection how the self-described ‘Split Nationality Disorder' she experienced growing up only magnified upon her family's emigration from the former Soviet Union to Los Angeles when she was 15 . . . Marafioti's probing observation of the contrast of American individualism with fierce Roma ethnocentrism, even xenophobia, yields a provocative exploration of identity. Contrasting cultural values shine in this winning contemporary immigrant account of assimilation versus individuation.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Touching . . . Funny . . . A rich, colorful story about a long misunderstood culture.” ―Publishers Weekly
“A most entertaining, informative and worthwhile read . . . American Gypsy is warm and funny--often very funny--and, always, is a revelation.” ―Ellen Stirling, Living Las Vegas
“Beyond the usual stereotypes of thieves in caravans, this drama of finding a home at last strikes universal chords, not least with the hilarious family theatrics and the contemporary immigrant mess-ups . . . [A] wry, unforgettable memoir.” ―Booklist
“American Gypsy is a fun, humorous and sometimes heartbreaking memoir of a teenage Russian immigrant . . . [A] spirited and touching coming-of-age tale.” ―Cindi Moon Reed, Vegas Seven
“[Oksana Marafioti's] witty, often hilarious account of her new life (not quite what MTV had promised) takes us for a ride through an immigrant's world, presenting the challenges of reconciling boyfriends, fast food, and séances with her family's strict Roma traditions.” ―Annasue McCleave Wilson, Biographile
“An illuminating and unvarnished peek into a much-misunderstood culture, one that's been plagued for centuries by discrimination and worse. That said, while American Gypsy documents some dark and troubling events, it offers just as many funny and heartwarming moments.” ―Geoff Schumacher, Las Vegas CityLife
“Oksana Marafioti's American Gypsy stands apart . . . A rare firsthand glimpse into the reality of contemporary Romani life.” ―Ian Hancock, director of the Program of Romani Studies, the University of Texas at Austin
About the Author
Oksana Marafioti moved from the Soviet Union when she was fifteen years old. Trained as a classical pianist, she has also worked as a cinematographer.
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I love reading the perspectives of refugees and immigrants in books. It's fascinating to see how other cultures perceive America and Americans, what with our giant out-of-season strawberries and fat-free butter. I also love books that teach me something new. American Gypsy offers both. Definitely worth a read.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a Soviet immigrant memoir with a twist– the author is half-Romani. The daughter of traveling professional musicians, she studies piano, is bullied at her...Read more