Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Stopping Places, written and read by Damian Le Bas.
*BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week*
'I needed to get to the stopping places, so I needed to get on the road. It was the road where I might at last find out where I belonged.'
Damian Le Bas grew up surrounded by Gypsy history. His great-grandmother would tell him stories of her childhood in the ancient Romani language; the places her family stopped and worked, the ways they lived, the superstitions and lores of their people. But his own experience of life on the road was limited to Ford Transit journeys from West Sussex to Hampshire to sell flowers.
In a bid to better understand his Gypsy heritage, the history of the Britain's Romanies and the rhythms of their life today, Damian sets out on a journey to discover the atchin tans, or stopping places – the old encampment sites known only to Travellers. Through winter frosts and summer dawns, from horse fairs to Gypsy churches, neon-lit lay-bys to fern-covered banks, Damian lives on the road, somewhere between the romanticised Gypsies of old, and their much-maligned descendants of today.
In this powerful and soulful debut, Damian le Bas brings the places, characters and stories of his to bold and vigorous life.
Tender and intensely lyrical ... the prose is pure delight. The author breathes life into everything he sees ... To read The Stopping Places is to better understand the curious history of the Roma and how they have survived into 21st-century Britain
A beautiful writer who seems born to tell this fascinating story. It's brilliantly researched, avoiding stereotype and explaining misconceptions, while showing what is vital and special about modern traveller culture
A fine prose style, vividly conjuring the smell of a hop pillow, the whinnying of a horse fair and the ‘wet-look hairstyles’ of the men, as well as the dead cold of a wagon in winter... An element of memoir clings to this excellent account of folk most of us don’t understand... The end of the book hints at redemption, as Le Bas comes to terms with the conflicts of his dual world. But he is too good a writer to make a meal of it
An insight into the hidden world and culture of travelling people, written with delicacy and affection
Beautifully written and deeply affecting… While this is a beautiful, important book about Gypsy culture, it’s also a moving exploration of what it means to belong