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|School & Library Binding, Mar 1997||
Oprah Book Club® Selection, February 1997: Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River clamors for comparisons to Gunter Grass's The Tin Drum; her protagonist Trudi Montag--like the unforgettable Oskar Mazerath--is a dwarf living in Germany during the two World Wars. To its credit, Stones does not wilt from the comparison. Hegi's book has a distinctive, appealing flavor of its own. Stone's characters are off-center enough to hold your attention despite the inevitable dominance of the setting: There's Trudi's mother, who slowly goes insane living in an "earth nest" beneath the family house; Trudi's best friend Georg, whose parents dress him as the girl they always wanted; and, of course, Trudi herself, whose condition dooms her to long for an impossible normalcy. Futhermore, the reader's inevitable sympathy for Trudi, the dwarf, heightens the true grotesqueness of Nazi Germany. Stones from the River is a nightmare journey with an unforgettable guide. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Returning to Burgdorf, the small German community she memorably depicted in Floating in My Mother's Palm , Hegi captures the events and atmosphere in the country prior, during and after WW II. Again she has produced a powerful novel whose chilling candor and resonant moral vision serve a dramatic story. With a sure hand, Hegi evokes the patterns of small-town life, individualized here in dozens of ordinary people who display the German passion for order, obedience and conformity, enforced for centuries by rigid class differences and the strictures of the Catholic church. The protagonist is Trudi Montag, the Zwerg (dwarf) who becomes the town's librarian; (she and most of the other characters figured in the earlier book). A perennial outsider because of her deformity, Trudi exploits her gift for eliciting peoples' secrets--and often maliciously reveals them in suspenseful gossip. But when Hitler ascends to power, she protects those who have been kind to her, including two Jewish families who, despite the efforts of Trudi, her father and a few others, are fated to perish in the Holocaust. Trudi is a complex character, as damaged by her mother's madness and early death as she is by the later circumstances of her life, and she is sometimes cruel, vindictive and vengeful. It is fascinating to watch her mature, as she experiences love and loss and finds wisdom, eventually learning to live with the vast amnesia that grips formerly ardent Nazis after the war. One hopes that Hegi will continue to depict the residents of Burgdorf--Germany in microcosm--thus deepening our understanding of a time and place.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Stones was slow to get going until I understood where the book was going and then had a hard time putting it down. Read morePublished 12 months ago by jeffercookie
Absolutely remarkable, can't recommend it highly enough. Particularly of interest for those who observe and monitor the insidious nature of gradual and passive compliance with... Read morePublished 14 months ago by spider queen
book was very interesting - detailed a lot of unknow history and unknown facts to me - a book I would recommend to friendsPublished on Nov. 27 2012 by Sven P. Wilcke
I read this book because I enjoyed some of Hegi's short stories in Hotel of the Saints. I'm wondering now if they were written by different people. Read morePublished on July 5 2004 by "cd-"
This book made me a fan of Ursula Heggi. What a great writer with a gift for human interest. Beginning in pre-Nazi Germany, this story ends after the war and focuses on the... Read morePublished on June 26 2004 by M. Alther
If you are reading all these 5-star reviews, be aware that not everyone out there found this book "superb" or "spellbinding" or any such nonesense. Read morePublished on June 25 2004 by Amazon Customer
I have owned this book for 6 years. I have picked up this book a dozen time- if not more- and I could never get past the first page. Read morePublished on May 26 2004
Ursula Hegi's "Stones from the River" is a very touching novel about a zwerge (dwarf) girl, Trudi, who lives in Burgdorf, Germany. Read morePublished on May 14 2004 by Emilie
Stones from the River by Usula Heigi focuses on the life of a dwarf in Germany during the Nazi occupation. Read morePublished on May 9 2004