Zoli Novotna, a young woman raised in the traveling Gypsy tradition, is a poet by accident as much as desire. As 1930s fascism spreads over Czechoslovakia, Zoli and her grandfather f...more
McCann's up to the task. It's a very well-built book, and Zoli (a boy's name in her culture, given by her grandfather to help protect her) is a fully realized person. She lives an exciting life. She writes amazing poetry (so we're...more
Zoli is the third book I have read by Irish writer Colum McCann (following Everything In My Country Must and This Side of Brightness) and the one that made me finally understand w...more
The book spans over 70 years, following the life of a fictional Romani woman around what was then Czechoslovakia, based loosely on another poet of that time. She's witness to many terri...more
I love what McCann is doing here. I have great respect for the amount of research and ambition he's put into this novel. The storyline, based on the life of the Gypsy po...more
On to the book itself: I'...more
A book will be more than worth the effort, however, if the author: a) makes you think about or see a thing in a way you never saw it before; and b) says something so profound, clever...more
The book bogged down a bit somewhere in the middle, but the last quarter or so was so strong. I've got two more novels of his left to read be...more
Zoli, Colum McCann's fourth novel, astounded critics with its sheer range of vision. While painting detailed strokes of the political tumult of the mid- to late-20th century, from the Nazis to the Communists to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Zoli also personalizes the plights of individuals through different narrators, including an elderly Zoli. Vivid details, a gripping story, and fine prose complement this rare glimpse into an exiled culture. Only the New York Times critic described the characte...more
I liked that this book covered a large span of their recent history. While it is fictionalized, it...more
I didn’t realize “who” Colum McCann “was” until after I finished the book and realized his newest book is on the Man Booker Long List for 2013 (TransAtlantic is already on my to-read list, I felt like quite an intellectual for wanting to read it before it was nominated—even though it didn’t make the short list).
Zoli is a book I would have gotten more out of if I hadn’t had a raging head & chest cold.
I much prefer linear books to “fancy” b...more
This novel is loosely based on the life of the Gypsy poet Papusza. Traveling across Europe – from Czechoslovakia to Hungary, Austria, Italy and France – the book focuses on Zoli Novotna, a young woman raised in the Romani tradition. As fascism spreads over 1930s Eastern Europe, the orphaned Zoli and her grandfather flee their home and join a clan of traveling Romani harpists. Despite the potential censure of the traditional clan members, Zoli’s grandfather teachers her to read. Her curiosit...more