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The Color of Smoke 
An Epic Novel of the Roma 

Menyhért Lakatos

"The first novel in which a Gypsy himself depicts his people . . . with complete authenticity and literary truthfulness . . . A one-of-a-kind coming-of-age novel." 
--Neue Zürcher Zeitung 

"A rare, observant snapshot . . . of 
Romany life." 
Kirkus Reviews  

A timeless tribute to one of the world’s most marginalized peoples and the gripping tale of one boy’s journey to manhood—by a Romani author who came of age in a Romani settlement during World War II 

Translated by Ann Major 

"A gripping and important narrative of a subject obscured by myth and misconception."  
--Kati Marton, author of 
Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America  

SWEEPING US INTO THE WORLD OF THE ROMA in rural Hungary as fascism gathers force and the Holocaust looms on the horizon, The Color of Smoke is replete with unforgettable characters. There is the adolescent narrator, torn between his people and a society that both entices him and rejects him. Drawn more to books than to manual labor and traditional pursuits, he stands out among his peers early on. From his rise in school to his first sexual encounters, from the travails of hunger and cold to being harassed by gendarmes, he treads a precarious path--one marked by moments of beauty and poignancy along with bawdiness, violence, and high adventure. So too, we come to know a people bound as much by a rich moral fabric as by the land and the horses they love. 

By constructing an often cruel and yet magical cosmos of one of the world’s most dispossessed minority populations, 
The Color of Smoke resonates with the scope and vision of works by Toni Morrison and Garcia Marquez, and with the subject matter of Colum McCann’s Zoli and Louise Doughty’sFires in the Dark. It is the ideal fictional complement to Isabel Fonseca’s 1995 bestselling nonfiction account of the Roma, Bury Me Standing


FICTION • 978-0-98506-23-47 • simultaneous e-book 11 August 2015
480 pages • Trade Paperback Original  $17.95 US/$17.95 CAN 
North America & Open Market  • 5.5 x 8.25  

"After appearing in various European languages, 
The Color of Smoke is now at last available in English. At its center is a Romani adolescent who has to deal with the cultural barriers that separate his world from the non-Gypsy world as all Roma must do--but he does so surrounded by the terrors of World War II, when the Romani people in Hungary were being herded into labor camps, some destined for Auschwitz. Written by an insider, this long-overdue and realistically harsh book opens a window into Romani life at that time and adds to our growing awareness of the Romani experience in Nazi-occupied Europe."  
Ian Hancock, Director of the Romani Archives and Documentation Center, University of Texas, and author of Danger! Educated Gypsy 

"Hailed as the crowning achievement of the late Menyhért Lakatos, Hungary’s foremost Romani author of the twentieth century, 
The Color of Smoke
has finally appeared in English. Its vivid characters and background illustrate the pathos and resilience of the Roma in Hungary during World War II, when that country was first an ally and then a victim of Nazi Germany. The author has drawn upon his boyhood experiences in this bildungsroman to show how his people, the Roma, denied their basic human rights and forced to scrounge an existence on the margins of society, were part of this society, but never fully accepted by the greater majority nor given equality of status. Finally they became the innocent victims of hatred and genocide along with the Jews when they were engulfed by the Nazi Holocaust."  
--Ronald Lee, LLD, Romani Canadian writer, linguist, and activist 


Menyhért Lakatos (Meñ-hayrt Lukutoshe) (1926–2007), Hungary’s preeminent twentieth-century Romani writer, was the award-winning author of nine books, all of which he wrote in Hungarian. He also achieved distinction as one of Europe’s leading Roma political leaders. The Color of Smoke, which appeared in its original Hungarian first in 1975, has seen five editions in its native land and has been translated into more than half a dozen languages.    


Ann Major (1928–), who spent her youth in Hungary, is a prominent translator of Hungarian and German books to English, her credits including Paul Lendvai’s The Hungarians and One Day That Shook the Communist World and Eugene Thassy’s Risky Region: Memoirs of a Hungarian Righteous Gentile. The author of an acclaimed memoir, A Carpet of Jacaranda (Sydney Jewish Museum, 2013), she lives in Lane Cove, Australia. 

Once Upon a Yugoslavia


When the American Way Met Tito's Third Way

a personal journey by
Surya Green

The surprising lessons that life inside a surveillance state taught one young American 
about freedom, plenty, and privacy


"Surya Green’s fascinating book narrates two journeys undertaken simultaneously . . . her unsought sojourn from Stanford, California, to Yugoslavia in 1968. . . . [and] an inner one that obliged her to scrupulously re-examine her most basic beliefs as a person and a citizen . . . Inspiring and uplifting . . . [and] full of extraordinary personal adventures." 
--Henry Breitrose (1936–2014), founder of the documentary film program and professor emeritus of communication, Stanford University

It is 1968. Protests sweep America. Amid all this, the author of this book--a New York-born, self-absorbed, modern young woman--is a student at Stanford University, blithely pursuing a graduate degree in communication. Her view of life’s purpose unexpectedly begins to expand after she says “Yes!” when her film mentor selects her for a writing job at a leading animation and documentary film studio in a most unusual corner of the communist world. Her stay there will ultimately take her beyond national borders to the outermost limits of her mind. 

Penned in the first person against the backdrop of Tito's Yugoslavia, Once Upon a Yugoslavia is, paradoxically, most timely in our twenty-first century in which global crises have compelled many to redefine success and the good life while embracing sustainability and new lifestyle priorities--just as Yugoslavia required of Surya Green decades ago. This unique book, while reading like a novel, offers a lively history lesson while addressing this present-day longing for a better quality of life.
  • Stands apart from other books on the former Yugoslavia by reassessing, from personal experience and historical research, the Yugoslavia that was--both the plusses and minuses of Tito's Third Way--with lessons for today.
  • Cinematic. Portrays a noted film studio run by direct participatory democracy and reflects on artists’ relationships with the governments that often fund them
  • Jewish interest. Returning to a Europe in which the Holocaust ravaged her paternal family, the author confronts her own biases; for example, in a beautiful meeting of minds with an insightful German man, Herr Stern.
  • Memorable personages, from the author's colleagues at Zagreb Film to everyday citizens of Yugoslavia, from Zelimir Matko to pioneering documentary filmmaker John Grierson to Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. 
  • A timely, new, perceptive look at "Yugo-nostalgia" and an elegantly written ode to an era


NONFICTION • 978-0-99000-43-49 • simultaneous e-book
17 November 2015 • 336 pages with 8 pages of b&w photos
Trade Paperback Original 
$17.95 US/$17.95 CAN • North America & Open Market  • 5.5 x 8.25 


Surya Green, a New York City native, received degrees from Stanford University and Barnard College and is the author of The Call of the Sun: A Woman's Journey to the Heart of Wisdom (Element Books Ltd., UK, 1997). She has published magazine articles internationally and has led gatherings, given workshops, and spoken on transformational themes in the Netherlands, USA, UK, and India. A member of the Dutch Association of Journalists and the Society of Authors (UK), she has also worked as a professional actress and singer. She lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where in 2000 she founded the nonprofit foundation Sun Conscious.