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An Interesting Anthropology & Emotional Read – Manouche: Living With The Gypsies of France


It with great pleasure that I am putting aside this time to provide this short review/introduction for a book I only finished reading on the weekend just passed. I am not often one to leave book reviews, however in this case I feel compelled to share the enjoyment, emotional connection and education I have been so fortunate to have experienced. It never ceases to amaze me, how thought provoking and captivating reading a book can be; and in this case, I must promote that these usual feelings of gratification and a sense of having pride due putting my free-time to good use, is magnified multiple times over. The book I am referring to is entitled: ‘Manouche: Living with the Gypsies of France’ and it is an expertly written and formulated personal account coming from the debuting author: Nigel Parsons.

The tale being told that offers a great, interesting insight into what it was like to be living as a Gypsy in France, begins during the 1970’s, while Nigel had been working a grape harvest alongside a Gypsy temporary settling. The French family employing Nigel had warned him several times to stay away from the Manouche, but the warnings had fallen on deaf ears – The warm & inviting communication he had already had with some of the 5 Gypsy families living close-by, along with the late night campfires, music and dancing had already won over Nigel’s allegiance. The end of the grape harvest would always bring about a cause for a large, end of harvest feast and a great time for celebration. On this occasion though, surprisingly Nigel learned that all the 5 Gypsy families had been barred from this particular end of harvest feast. The Gypsies disappeared over night and Nigel soon followed.

The story that follows spans over the course of 40 years and brings with it a number of highs and lows. Great friendships are formed for life while cultures and ways of life get destroyed and lost within what can be a very cruel world at times. Nigel Parsons reminisced on the time spent living with the Gypsies as some of the best & happiest days of his life. The Gypsy families had and have very little in the eyes of most, but these tend to be more the materialistic items in ones life. Reading the Manouche: Living with the Gypsies of France, goes a long way towards reconfirming to myself/the reader, that there is so much more to life than material objects and belongings of various types. The connection one human can have with another can be and is so much more powerful and purposeful.

Nigel Parsons now lives with his family in South West London, and looks back on those interesting years during the 1970’s with a fondness you can just not have for items.


Source by Simon J Parsons

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