The internment of Roma in France during the Second World War forms the historical backdrop against which this novel’s narrative is projected. At the same time, the work is based on the author’s own experiences.
The story takes place in a magic setting in which there is an internal struggle for power within a Romani community: the witch Dharani and the wise man Voso are competing for supremacy, and the girl Silenka is the plaything of their conflict.
As in other of his works, Matéo Maximoff addresses the explicit historical experiences of the Roma while drawing on materials characteristic of Romani narratives. In the case of La septième fille (‘The Seventh Daughter’), this involves the story of a mulo, a revenant, who is an extremely popular figure in Romani oral narratives.
Another typical feature of Maximoff’s work is the protagonist walking a tightrope between one group and another. In this case, it is Voso seeking to act as a mediator between the majority and minority society and thus being exposed to resentments from either side.
Source of the excerpt
Maximoff, Matéo. 1982 . La septième fille, Champigny sur Marne: Concordia, p. 43.