Homestead Paperback – Sep 2002
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The setting for this poignant novel is Rosenau, an isolated Austrian Village, and the story encompasses generations of villagers and their intimate lives. The magic of the novel lies in the author's ability to make the faraway seem familiar, even when it is tragic or brutal. Structured as short stories told from the viewpoints of different members of the village, the novel follows their intertwined lives from 1909 through 1977, layering story upon story to develop the village and the characters.
Lippi's characters are nothing short of wonderful. There is, for example, Johanna, whose heart is torn between her love for Francesco--a soldier hiding in the Austrian Alps--and her sister Angelika, who hides her dependence upon Johanna behind not-so-subtle reminders of familial duty. And there is Katharina, whose impulsiveness causes her to betray her two half-brothers for a ride in a Nazi motorcar, and Stante, who proves his worth not only in the Wainwright's workshop but also by his courage withstanding the Nazis. The character portrayals are based upon Lippi's own experiences living in Austria for four years. You'll hate for these stories to end. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In a series of interconnected vignettes spanning 1909^-77, Lippi breathes life into the village of Rosenau, an isolated dairy-farming community nestled in the Austrian Alps. Each chapter focuses on a segment of different women's lives, mainly: Anna, a young wife living in a household run by her mother-in-law, who receives a postcard from an outside man and sets the whole village talking; Johanna, a spinster living with her sister's family, who falls in love with an Italian deserter in her beloved alpine meadow and lives with the secret for the next 50 years; Angelika, Johanna's sister, who measures her own worth by the quality of the cheese she makes for her husband; and Katharina, who desperately wants to ride in one of the new automobiles of the Nazi soldiers. The simple lifestyle and Lippi's eloquent descriptions bring to life a world alien to the modern one yet brimming with emotions and events of universal understanding, evoking children's author Kate Seredy's Good Master and Singing Tree. An outstanding read. Melanie Duncan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I wonder what other readers made of the final chapter - it seemed to me that everything had come full circle. I would love to read this novel as part of a book club discussion.
If you enjoy "literary fiction" this book is for you - you will not be disappointed. It entertains and it stimulates - what more can any reader ask for?
I am very interested in family history and have researched my own family line back many generations. I believe that this book truly expresses why family history interests me so much. The tying together and weaving of the lives of the female clan members of this book show just how important heritage and family are. It tells of secrets that all families have hidden amongst their branches, of illegitimate children, of relationships between mothers and their children, of the relationships of mother-in laws with their children's spouses, of love, hate, loss, and triumph.
Even though this story takes place in a fictional place with fictional characters, its message is based on the lives of many that grew up in Austria during a time where farming, dairying, and war were common place. Even though my own life may not be anything like what it must have been like for the strong women figures of "Homestead", it is a life that is based on the choices, dreams, and goals of my ancestors and without them, I would not be where or who I am today.
Another interesting read that is similar to this book is "Oral History" by Lee Smith set in the Appalachian Mountains.
Otherwise, the format of the book makes for good reading. The book is a series of episodes in the lives of the women in three families. They aren't quite short stories since characters and plot lines reappear every so often. At the same time, the stories are distinct enough that I was able to put the book down between chapters.
Bottom-line: A pleasant read with the chance to armchair travel into life in a small Austrian village. Our book group liked the book a great deal although it didn't stimulate an extensive discussion.
Lippi's writings, at times, did invoke the spirit and solitude of the isolated Alpine farming village and the women who lived there. And these images and characters did fill the pages of the interlocking stories over an 80 year period. While the reader becomes familiar with these women's lives, losses and regrets, all of the stories weren't nearly as spirited or poignant as they could have been.
And for some strange reason, the family trees appeared as endpapers at the back of the book and since I didn't see then till I was almost finished with the book, I felt that having them in the front might have made things less confusing and I also might have enjoyed the book more.
I know that Rosina Lippi spent time in a village similar to the one she wrote about and I am sure this book was factual but I was hoping for stories with a bit more. I have since learned that Rosina Lippi also writes historical fiction under the name of Sara Donati. I now plan on reading one of these books to see if I like them better than this one.
Most recent customer reviews
In "Homestead", Rosina Lippi writes a series of short stories dealing with women in the Austrian village of Rosenau. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2000 by Sophia
I have been enjoying the high marks other reviewers have given to Homestead. The enjoyed the book so much that I'd like to comment also. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2000
After reading Rosina Lippi's works written as Sara Donati ("Into the Wilderness" and "Dawn on a Distant Shore"), I was thrilled to find "Homestead". Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2000 by R. Harden
I was sad to get to the end of the book, I wanted more! I have been telling everyone I know, male and female to read this book. It is such an amazing piece of art.Published on April 13 2000
This book is a gem. I didn't know I could identify so completely with characters from another country, time, and way of life. Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2000 by Christine L. Braun
I only happened upon Homestead after finishing (and really enjoying) Into the Wilderness. I was looking for the "Wilderness" sequel release date, and discovered it's... Read morePublished on Jan. 20 2000 by JILL MAROTTA
The author is so brilliant in the way she writes that sometimes she tells a personal story of a character that allows you to draw the conclusions on your own; and, sometimes she... Read morePublished on Nov. 4 1999 by Diane Wischmann