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Homestead [Paperback]

Rosina Lippi
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.80
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Book Description

September 2002
Each life has its place, and every variation ripples the surface of the tiny alpine village called Rosenau. Be it a mysteriously misaddressed love letter or a girl's careless delivery of two helpless relatives into Nazi hands, the town's balance is ever tested, and ever tender. Here is a novel spanning eighty years -- years that bring factories and wars, store-bought cheese and city-trained teachers -- weaving the fates of the wives, mothers, and daughters in this remote corner of Austria. To quote Rosellen Brown, "the women in this haunting book are deeply and uniquely of their place, yet they speak (often wordlessly) of women's longings and satisfactions everywhere."
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

From Booklist

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.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully written and touching story March 21 2002
This is a marvellous book. It is the story of a small Alpine village over the course of 70 years told through the lives of the women who lived there. Each chapter is the story of an individual woman at a point in time, but the stories weave in and out so that you never lose track of what happened to them. I found the book deeply satisfying to read - at times it was funny, it was always touching and often very sad. I felt I was involved in the lives of these women (and their men-folk), there was great suspense and it was extremely well-written.
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?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Family History July 4 2002
I picked this book up off a best sellers table when I was in London this past March. I was looking for some good books to read on the long flight home but I had not gotten to this one until now.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watch for the family trees July 16 2001
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I would have enjoyed it a great deal more if the family trees had been placed in the front of the book rather than in the appendix (since I was a good girl and didn't skip ahead to the end). Considering there is a whole story devoted to a postcard mailed to "Anna" where the intended receipient could have be half of the village, keeping track of the names is tricky. The family trees are really helpful - if you know they are there.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, poignant, multi-layered stories June 11 2003
I forget who recommended this book to me, but I would like to thank her in absentia. Homestead is spectacular. The setting is an isolated Austrian village, and the inter-related stories span several generations of the villagers, exploring their known and secret links and relationships to each other. The history told in Homestead spans the time from early 1900s to almost 1980, and some of the most gut-wrenching and poignant tales concern the nearness of the Nazi threat during WWII. Once met through the pages of this book, the characters and their motives and secrets will stay with you for a long time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Something Missing! May 12 2000
Since I always enjoy multi-generational sagas, I was most enthusiastic when I first picked up this book. But I'm afraid that I didn't enjoy this title nearly as much as I thought I would.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful stories about strong bur very human women Sept. 17 1998
Rosina Lippi's book, HOMSTEAD, is a wondeful book about the strength and endurance and beauty of generations of peasant women living on small dairy farms high in the Austrian Alps. Though this book is listed as fiction, after glancing through the table of contents with all of its names, clan charts, naming conventions, pronounciation guides, and glossary, I thought it was going to be one of those books I would have to plough through along with the women in the book. Golly, it was daunting! However, before I finished the first chapter about Anna, and the Begat Homestead, 1909, I was intriuged and was happy to be flipping back and forth between all of these guides meeting women who had personality as well as endurance . I wanted to be a part of their lives and have them be a part of mine. Lippi has done a remarkable job of bringing these women to life. She tells about the inevitable disintegration of peasant life as the world shrinks in the face of technology. By sending me back to the simple peasant life in 1909, I realize how much I miss by having all of these machines do all of my work so I can save all of that time to use these machines. I don't much want to milk cows and make my own cheese, but I would like the strength these women had to face the world. This book reminds me of John Berger's trilogy, INTO THEIR LABOURS, which chronicles the creeping death of simplicity in the rural areas of the Alps of France.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, well-told generational saga
In "Homestead", Rosina Lippi writes a series of short stories dealing with women in the Austrian village of Rosenau. Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2000 by Sophia
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, little-known book
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 more
Published on Sept. 3 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching
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 more
Published on Aug. 25 2000 by R. Harden
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of my top 5 all time favorites
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Book!
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 more
Published on Jan. 21 2000 by Christine L. Braun
5.0 out of 5 stars a lovely, stunning surprise...
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 more
Published on Jan. 20 2000 by JILL MAROTTA
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, Insightful, Brilliantly written...
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 more
Published on Nov. 4 1999 by Diane Wischmann
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is an unsung masterpiece!
Why hasn't this book been lauded more loudly? I stumbled on it and had never heard of it. These wonderful, interrelated stories capture the entire 20th century in one Austrian... Read more
Published on Oct. 11 1999
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