Charmer Boy Gypsy Girl
The poignant novel Charmer Boy Gypsy Girl by Victor Harrington chronicles the harrowing, passionate romance of a young couple caught up in the savage conflict that decimated Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Harrington profoundly examines and painstakingly describes the horrific decisions a variety of relationships had to face during this unsettling period of time. Bosko, a Serbian, and Admira, a Bosnian, fall in love at first sight just prior to tensions escalating between ethnic and religious groups in the city of Sarajevo. Early in the relationship, readers have the opportunity to see the beauty and allure of Sarajevo through the eyes of Bosko and Admira. Harrington skillfully describes Sarajevo as a city whose “beauty almost had a sound, as if Sarajevo sang its own torch song. Their golden city of palaces had never seemed as gentle or as beautiful as it did at that moment with its countenance blanketed by a gentle snowfall.” However, everything changes within only a few short years. As explosions and bullets tear the city apart, the young couple strain to maintain their relationship against all odds. Through the eyes of the young couple, readers witness firsthand the terrifying transformation from a breathtaking city of lights to a vastly different Sarajevo covered in bloodshed. Throughout the city, “those who ventured outside did whatever possible to make themselves less of a target…men, women, and children, old and young, would make a mad dash, sometimes in a straight line, toward a doorway—always with the hope that the gunman had paused from looking down the barrel of his gun.” As fear, hatred, and sorrow infect the once-beautiful city, the couple becomes a prime target for brutal instances of physical assaults and verbal rebukes. Repeatedly, Bosko rejects opportunities to flee the city without Admira and Admira refuses to live apart from Bosko, despite hostile objections to their relationship from those living in Sarajevo. Choosing to risk dying together instead of living apart, the couple desperately struggles to remain in their beloved city and focuses alternatively on the promise of a peaceful future together. Based on true events, the agonizing decisions Admira, Bosko, their friends, and their family must make will dishearten and uplift every reader. Given the graphic descriptions of the conflict, Charmer Boy Gypsy Girl requires a mature audience. With that said, every reader fascinated with romance, war, history, social relations, and ethnic and religious interplay will significantly appreciate this compelling novel.