Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Year The Gypsies Came” as Want to Read:
The Year The Gypsies Came
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Year The Gypsies Came

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  462 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
As twelve-year-old Emily Iris explains it, her mother and father have always been eager to take in travelers and vagabonds, relying on the presence of outsiders to ease the tension between them. Emily has her gentle older sister, Sarah, and Buza, the old Zulu nightwatchman, for company and comfort. But her parents continuing discontent leads them to welcome some peculiar s ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published 2007 by Penguin Books (first published March 21st 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Year The Gypsies Came, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Year The Gypsies Came

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 31, 2015 Indah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked it, great translation and storytelling, beginning was really slow and boring but it got better at the end.
However much I like Linzi Glass' way of showing the reader South Africa, this wasn't my favourite of hers. The epilogue was beautiful; what xame before felt really rushed and out of the blue.
3,5 out of 5 stars < / b >
Aug 25, 2009 Mo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hm, I must admit I'm surprised at some of the extremely negative reviews on this book. Yes, it was dark, yes, there were tons and tongs of angst in it, and yes, some of it may have been over the top - but all in all, I actually thought this was quite a good book. What I especially liked, is the way Emily (the main character) looks at things. She realises her family isn't quite normal, but at the same time she takes a lot of things for granted that make me go 'awk!'. I like that, since it's reali ...more
Ava Black
Jan 01, 2014 Ava Black rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very disappointing. I read some bad reviews about it, but I thought they were written by quite impressionable people because, honestly, I have no problem in reading books about hard stuff, abuse, family with problems, all set in a particularly hard historical time... if they are well written and engaging, and this is not the case. I read about half of the book and then I gave up because the characters have no dept, I could not care less about them. They are all described without any ...more
Apr 21, 2013 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Mooi geschreven verhaal, verteld vanuit de 12-jarige Emily. Het speelt zich af in de jaren zestig in Johannesburg, een tijd waarin de apartheid nog volop 'heerste'.
In het gezin zijn ook een zwarte huishoudster en een zwarte nachtwaker (Buza). Bij deze 2 mensen vindt Emily de geborgenheid, liefde en troost die ze van haar ouders niet krijgt.
Zoals hieronder beschreven, voel je de dreiging, je voelt dat er iets gaat gebeuren en je voelt ook wel ongeveer welke kant het opgaat. Je zou wel in willen
May 17, 2015 Vivian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben er nog niet helemaal uit wat ik hier nou van vond. Ruby Rood is één van mijn lievelingsboeken, maar deze viel me toch een beetje tegen, misschien door de toch nog wel kinderlijke hoofdpersoon, wat ik niet had verwacht. Het verhaal vond ik mooi en de personages intrigerend, maar er miste iets waardoor het me gewoon niet echt greep. Heb het idee dat het gewoon een beetje teveel verhaallijnen door elkaar heen waren en geen ervan werd echt duidelijk uitgewerkt... er zijn nog zoveel vragen die ik ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Maxine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I felt this book was too formal and stiff. Although it was packed filled with metaphors that should be very deep, in didn't feel that way to me. It simply felt "over done" which is disappointed. The themes in the book are very serious ones, but I couldn't appreciate that as so many things in the book were distracted and unnecessary. The overly explained images were, I imagine, to engage the reader into the head of the young child this book is about. However, sadly, it did the opposite. It took m ...more
Nov 10, 2011 Elarri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was probably the saddest book, I've ever read. I cried myself to sleep. It's cowardice to be scared of such an overwhelmingly powerful story. To turn away from the bad stuff, because it ruins the illusion of a 'perfect' life. This book made me think about my values, and about my loved ones, and all the hardships I'll probably never have to face.
Dec 14, 2009 Lowenna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. I have read it about five times, i just cant get bored of it. A very touching story, i will always remember this book. I would recommend it to anybody.
Joyce Kleine
wat een zwaar verhaa.l in het begin wat lang dradig
Opal Lee
Aug 03, 2016 Opal Lee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I was 10 years of age (as a curious young child), I picked up this book as the title and cover sounded interesting.
As somebody who hates to leave something unfinished, I forced myself to read this book to the end. As you can imagine, I was absolutely horrified and kicked the book away as I got up to the part where a rape scene occurred.
While I enjoyed reading the parts of reality (yes I was a sadistic 10 year old) where the girl felt as if her family was stuck together with false glue or so
Kirsty (overflowing library)
It's been a while since I read any of Linzi's work and I don;t know why I have left it so long because her books are fab.

This book is set in the background of a modern historical context of Apartheid in Africa. What I like about it is that it isn't about Apartheid as such but a story about a family living in the times and how it impacts upon on them. I love stories like this as I think they are more realistic in showing the impact of such events on ordinary people living in extraordinary times.

Fiona Groves
Jun 08, 2016 Fiona Groves rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saga
I can't say I enjoyed this book because it's too dark and sad a story to have enjoyed it. It is set in 1966 in Apartheid South Africa in a suburb of Joburg that I'm familiar with. The story covers quite a range of topics like neglectful parents, racism, rape, abuse and police brutality. Twelve year old Emily is the story's narrator and it's through her eyes that everything unfolds. She lives with her white elitist parents and her older sister Sarah. Her mother and father are very preoccupied wit ...more
Jan 06, 2013 Rosemary rated it really liked it
12-year-old Emily is growing up with her older sister and their parents in white Johannesburg under apartheid in the 1960s. Their father is distant and their mother has other interests. Emily spends a lot of time with the old black servant Buza who tells her traditional Zulu stories.

When the parents are getting on really badly they have a habit of inviting a houseguest so that they have to make more of an effort. One day their father comes back with a whole family, living in a caravan. The resul
Feb 05, 2012 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ?
Recommended to Matt by: Celine Kagan
With more layers of meaning than a wedding cake, The Year The Gypsies Came is a sometimes confusing, but very profound story that relies on literary devices to tell itself. The more you "dig" into the analysis of the text, the better the book seems. For, a seemingly boring and unintelligible writing style on the surface of the storyline is deeper than one may think it is--it gives way to a profound amount of symbolism and metaphors that tie its loose ends together with underlying themes. But, de ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Tiffany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book actually. In the start I thought the book was a little bit to boring, but later it was getting better and better. Cried pretty much in the end of the book, it was really sad.

I liked the main character Emily very much, I liked her way to see things. I also liked her relationships to their night guard Buza and her sister Sarah. Buza is probably my favorite character in the book, I just love the way he speaks and tell things. I don't really know, I just like the c
Aug 07, 2009 Aili rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 22, 2012 Den rated it it was ok
part of my Around the World Challenge - South Africa.
I found it really hard going and I can't see how it would appeal to many teens. Basically it is all about a young girl and her relationships with her sister (close0 and parents (very distant)and how to ignore their problems they invite others to stay. During the course of this course it is a wildlife photographer and his family who roam anywhere and everywhere. It's about her friendship with one of the sons and her friendship with the Zulu wat
Audra Deemer
Twelve year old Emily craves affection from her constantly quarreling parents. She is tomboy with few friends, only her kind older sister and their Zulu servant, Buza who tells her stories of wisdom and magic. When a mysterious family of wanderers comes to stay, Emily finds a kindred soul in one of the houseguests as she learns of the pain and struggles of those all around her in apartheid South Africa.
Dec 08, 2010 Alysha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a very young child, and it horrified me. It tells of abuse from parents towards a mentally ill child. Rape and death. You just have to look at the cover to see why a child might pick it up. I thought it would be a enjoyable story if not a happy one. I think this book should come with a warning on it. I picked it up in the library in the child's section and there was nothing in the blurb which told of what the book would contain.
Dec 02, 2013 Charlotte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tragedy, favourite
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannon Jackson
I read this when I was 13 and had no idea what it was about. I thought it was going to be a sort of light book, but it had so many layers, and I really enjoyed it. I was confused because I had no idea what a 'Zulu' was and I didn't know it was set in South Africa, but it was a really good book. At times a little heart breaking, but well written and a lovely book.
Nov 27, 2007 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Apartheid-era Johannesburg, South Africa. English tomboy Emily and her beautiful, older sister Sara have parents at war. Relief from their parents' fighting comes with spending time with the Zulu servants and taking in houseguests, the latest addition of which is a gypsy family made up of an Australian wildlife photographer, his wife, and their two boys.
Sep 21, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being from South Africa I really enjoyed reading this book, being able to relate to a lot of stuff. And I could understand a lot of the Afrikaans words + Zulu words being Afrikaans and from Zulu land. It was interesting to see how different things are now compared to how they were in apartheid. People here are def more relaxed. Loved it .
Oct 02, 2008 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I will be honest and say that I didn't finish this book. It is one of the only texts in which I have no desire to do so. This book actually gave me a nightmare - a fricken nightmare! - as I dreamed that I was a part of this messed up family. It's 4+ rating implies that it should get better. But maybe it was read by the same people who enjoyed "The Secret Keeper's Daughter"
Dec 14, 2014 Yanila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was not a good book for me. I feel as if there were only one or two scenes that were really dramatic the rest bored me a little. I honestly think the ending could've been better for it disappointed me. When I finished reading the book I didn't get the feeling as if I've lost a brother but the feeling as if I haven't lost anything.

Maybe next time Linzi Glass, maybe next time
Oct 07, 2014 Laila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The weird thing about this book is that it makes me feel nostalgic. Third (fourth?) time reading, and it's the same feeling. All the time. How can you feel nostalgic about a place/time that you've never been to?

And every time. I read this. I'm devastated. All over again.
Aug 08, 2008 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
set in South Africa, this book describes what happens when two dysfunctional families collide - there's damage all around.
This book tries to describe the 1960s by using fashion, politics, etc.
There are some lovely characterizations and relationships.
I recommend this book.
Isabel Houtkamp
In het begin vond ik dit boek erg leuk, maar al na een paar hoofdstukken overheerst een bepaalde dreiging in het verhaal. Uiteindelijk gebeuren er dan ook hele erge dingen. Een indrukwekkend boek, maar iets te zwaar op sommige momenten.
I picked up this book because It is about South Africa. I was under the impression that it was a collection of Zulu stories. It does include some, but it is more of a novel about a dysfunctional family and how the Zulu servant is able to comfort the young narrator Emily as her family falls apart.
Stephanie Pierre-jacques
The book deserves more credit than what it's getting currently. It is a very dark novel, but it is was still a very good read. People are simply scared of the themes of abandonment, loneliness, and betrayal it has.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Ultimate Teen...: The Year the Gypsies Came - Linzi Glass 2 9 Jan 06, 2013 02:18AM  
WHY DOES THIS BOOK HIT SOME SOO HARD? 3 37 Nov 10, 2011 04:50AM  
  • Perenbomen bloeien wit
  • De hemel van Heivisj
  • Allemaal willen we de hemel
  • De avonturen van Pinkeltje
  • By the River
  • I Miss You, I Miss You!
  • Fjärde riket
  • Välkommen hem
  • Oorlog zonder vrienden
  • De held
  • En sekund i taget
  • Udda Verklighet (De sära, #1)
  • The Killer's Tears
  • De formule van Tante Kriegel
  • Pampa Blues
  • De verborgen geschiedenis van Courtillon
  • De dagen van de bluegrassliefde
  • Gevangenis met een open deur (Lijsters)
Linzi moved to the US as a young adult- and has lived in Santa Monica with her teenage daughter, Jordan, for many years.
She has been in the trenches of animal rescue for seven years and has personally rescued hundreds of dogs. She is the Executive Director and Co-founder of The Forgotten Dog Foundation, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing dogs in
More about Linzi Glass...

Share This Book

“In Sarah's eyes I see trapped tears that have spun themselves so tightly that they can't fall onto her cheeks, but will fall instead back into the empty hollow place in her. I imagine a deep, dark well inside her that's filled with all the tears she never cries, and how cold and damp she must feel under her pinafore and inside her kind, pale body.” 1 likes
More quotes…