Glass, Linzi (Linzi Alex Glass)
Glass, Linzi (Linzi Alex Glass)
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa; immigrated to United States; father an educator; married Marvin Katz (an entertainment lawyer; marriage ended); children: Jordan. Education: Attended Lee Strasberg Theater Institute; attended University of California, Los Angeles Extension Writers Program.
Writer and entrepreneur. Cofounder of Jeffrey Katz Bone Marrow Transplant Fund for Children; cofounder of SizeAppeal.com (clothing business). Has worked as a freelance script reader and as a literary coordinator for Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles, CA.
The Year the Gypsies Came (young-adult novel), Holt (New York, NY), 2006.
Ruby Red (young-adult novel), Penguin (London, England), 2007.
Also author of articles, plays, screenplays, and short stories.
Linzi Glass, an accomplished businessperson, philanthropist, and author, published her debut young-adult novel, The Year the Gypsies Came, in 2006. Born in Jo hannesburg, South Africa, Glass grew up during the apartheid era, and draws on her childhood experiences in forming the backdrop of her fiction. "It always pained me to have grown up in a country where there were so clearly the haves and have-nots and skin colour was all that determined which camp one fell into," the writer stated in an interview posted on her home page. "I was fortunate enough to have been born into a family of the ‘haves’." When Glass was twelve years old, her father, an opponent of the country's racist social system, moved his family to England and later to the United States. Around this time, Glass began writing and publishing her poetry and short stories. She eventually began a career in the entertainment industry, working as a script reader and as a literary coordinator for a talent agency. Taking writing classes on the college level also inspired her to produce plays, articles, and screenplays in addition to her novel.
Set in South Africa in 1966, The Year the Gypsies Came is narrated by twelve-year-old Emily Iris, who lives a privileged but unhappy life at her family's Johannesburg estate. Emily's self-absorbed parents quarrel often, and for comfort the preteen turns to her gentle and sensible older sister, Sarah, and the Iris family's black servants Buza and Lettie. Buza, a Zulu night watchman, acts as a surrogate parent for Emily, offering her guidance in the form of stories and folktales. When Buza is arrested after not being able to produce his identity papers on a trip into the white part of the city Emily is forced to "confront the distress of his legally enforced, lifelong isolation from his real daughter and family," observed Hazel Rochman in Booklist.
Danger also forms a part of the novel's plot. After an Australian wildlife photographer and his family arrive at the Iris family's home, they are invited to park their camping trailer in the estate's garden. Emily quickly strikes up a friendship with the Mallorys' youngest son, Streak, while Streak's older brother, the mentally challenged Otis, forms a strong attachment to Sarah. As Emily learns more about the itinerant family, however, her worst fears are confirmed; Mr. Mallory is frequently abusive and beats his sons with a club. "The disquiet grows, blossoming as events unfold into dread and anguish," remarked London Guardian contributor Diane Samuels. "It is not too long before an act of violence is committed, with appalling consequences for all concerned."
The Year the Gypsies Came received generally strong reviews. Although School Library Journal contributor Sue Gifford wrote that the novel "lacks a deep grounding in the social context," she also noted that "Emily's relationships with the people close to her ring true, and her friendship with Streak has its touching moments." Other critics praised the authenticity of Green's work. "Beautifully, powerfully and compellingly written, the novel is revealing about the attitudes of Afrikaaners and Anglo- Africans in the 1960s," wrote a contributor in the London Sunday Times. As Samuels commented, "Johannesburg in the high days of apartheid becomes as familiar as the shops around the corner. And the brutality of the regime is evoked with unsentimental candour through the unfolding story and perspectives of those who people it—black and white, Zulu, English and Afrikaner." In the words of a Bookseller reviewer, The Year the Gypsies Came is "a striking story about innocence ending."
In an interview posted on Authortrek.com, Glass stated: "I write about the human condition and how we overcome the obstacles that are placed before us in our lives. I write about love in all its many forms and also about how fragile life can be. Transformation and hope are often themes in my works."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, March 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 86.
Bookseller, February 17, 2006, review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 32.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2006, Elizabeth Bush, review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 452.
Guardian (London, England), May 6, 2006, Diane Samuels, "The Ties That Bind," review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 20.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2006, review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 230.
Kliatt, March, 2006, Janis Flint-Ferguson, review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 10.
New York Times Book Review, July 9, 2006, Polly Shulman, review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 16.
School Librarian, summer, 2006, Alison Hurst, review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 98.
School Library Journal, May, 2006, Sue Giffard, review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 125.
Sunday Times (London, England), April 23, 2006, review of The Year the Gypsies Came, p. 48.
Authortrek.com,http://www.authortrek.com/ (March, 2006), interview with Glass.
Linzi Glass Home Page,http://www.linziglass.com (November 20, 2006).