From the Rill to the Ocean
A member of the cultural minority that most people call Gypsies, Kalanyos relates how he was an outsider even in his own country but that the restrictions he faced once the Soviets came to power made the country feel less and less like home. And so finally, he found a way to escape.
Kalanyos provides a wealth of details about both his native culture and about such topics as language differences among the many European languages he speaks. He also offers a great insider's view of what it was like to live under the Soviet regime. He provides family photos that help to illustrate different topics, such as, for example, life on a Soviet-controlled farm.
If there is one failing in the book, it's that it ends too quickly. He concludes the book only 119 pages into the narrative, right after he lands on the shores of the United States. The reader is left to wonder what challenges he met in the days since then and what befell his family in Hungary.
Most likely, Kalanyos erred on the side of caution, focusing on the area of his life he felt was the most interesting, refusing to weight it down with extraneous details. For that, he deserves credit for resisting the temptation to ramble, as so many novice authors do in autobiographies. With his book's wealth of details, Kalanyos provides a thought-provoking, insider's view of life under the Soviet regime.
Rating: *** (Good)
Xlibris, 2007: ISBN 978-1-4257-3549-4