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Stones from the River [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Ursula Hegi
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (277 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1997 G K Hall Large Print Book Series
From the author of Floating in My Mother's Palm. Born in the small German town of Burdorf, Trudi Montag is a Zwerg--a dwarf--who yearns to stretch and grow and be like everyone else. But as she matures to become the town's librarian and unofficial historian, Trudi learns that being different is a secret that everybody shares.

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From Amazon

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 the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

A dwarf woman struggles to find acceptance in her small German town in this novel spanning both world wars.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stones from the river Nov. 27 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
book was very interesting - detailed a lot of unknow history and unknown facts to me - a book I would recommend to friends
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5.0 out of 5 stars Made me a fan! June 26 2004
Format:Paperback
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 conception, chidlhood, adolescence, and adulthood of a female dwarf and the keeper of the pay library. She knows just about everyone in her small town, and all the drama, triumphs and tragedies in their lives are detailed along with her own. Wonderful book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Modern Fiction I've Read in a Long Time July 15 2002
Format:Paperback
This is a stunning book...not an easy book, or a simple book, but stunning. Hegi's portrait of Trudi Montag is beautifully drawn. She is a fully realized character, with traits that we admire but with a hard edge of her own. Her perspective is that of an outsider, and as such any of us who ever felt on the outside of things can easily relate to her.
The real main character of her book is the town that she lives in. Peopled with quirky characters, the edge in this book sneaks up on you. People who seem odd but harmless as the book begins become terrifying supporters of the Nazi regime. And those who seem odd but vaguely menacing, end up showing true heroism. Nothing is ever quite what it seems.
Hegi's prose is rich and evocative. She goes for poetry over accuracy, hence her translation of kindreich as "child-rich" rather than as fertile. The equation of fertility with riches further heightens our sense of Trudi as an outsider.
I must admit that the idea that Trudi, a dwarf, could actually survive the Third Reich bothered me just a bit. I ended up accepting it as a fictional image. Truth in fiction does not always have to mirror actual truth. Sometimes poetic truth can be stronger.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Perfection July 12 2002
Format:Paperback
The first time I read "Stones From the River" was with my book club. I believe it was the only book we all categorized equally with "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Grapes of Wrath"
Yes, it was that good.
The second time I read it was for the pure pleasure of Hegi's words. Her powerful voice is translated through Trudi Montog, the main character. A German girl whom happens to be a dwarf (Zwerg) A misfit. Who hangs from doorframes until her fingers are numb. "Grow, grow!" she prays to an ineffective God...why else would he create her short, stubby, ugly, and utterly despicable.
But she was given a gift. The wonderful gift of story-telling. This will save her as humour saves the character in "A Beautiful Life" or at least made life tolerable.
In the midst of Trudie's battles, Hitler is rising. Slowly, like a cancer spreading. Jews are being taken from their homes, disappearing, losing their German passports, given a yellow star to wear on their chests.
Nobody believes it is really happening.
"They are only working at those camps." they say.

INDIFFERENCE is worse than anything. Indifference makes monsters grow.
"Stones From the River" is about the human condition during war. How it can sometimes turn us into animals, Intolerant of our differences. Hating one another because of them.
Who understands better than Trudie about the ugliness of being different...."They will find anything. Anything to separate one from another. Widows. Jews. Swergs. Madness. Hitler will find something."
"Stones" is not an easy read. I wanted to scream at times...WHY did you all let this happen? WHY?" And at the same time...the story was so beautiful, I carry some of the sentences around like jewels to savor later.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent must read June 30 2002
Format:Paperback
A friend insisted I buy this book, telling me what a masterpiece it was. I was at first sceptical, and I must confess it did not grab me within the first few chapters as I had hoped that it would. The main character is a dwarf, the child of a mentally ill mother and a father disabled in World War 1, and whereas her life looked as if it would be interesting, if filled with angst, I was confident that this itself would not hold my attention for the whole of the book.
How wrong I was, becuase it is not Trudi's life that grabs you, it is the world she is living in - the horror of Germany between the wars. It is difficult to find words to describe how that world changes, with the rise of Adolf Hitler, and the slow and deliberate persecution of the Jews, and the terror of ordinary citizens who barely dared to question what was hapening to their lives. The story becomes shocking, unimaginable and utterly compelling. I also think that it is something that everyone should read, and I like my friend, will recommend it to everyone.
It is not an easy story to read, and Trudi, the main character is spiky and independent - not always easy to identify with. But is an important book because it also chronicles the life of everyday Germans who were caught up in unspeakable times, and it is with these characters that our sympathies lie.
I am pleased that I took my friend's recommendation. Again, not an easy read, but a picture of history that cannot be ignored. It is a truly compelling and magnificent novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspires Thought May 28 2002
Format:Paperback
I found this book insightful on many avenues. Opens up a different perspective of the country and its people during this most written about episode in history. The characters are well developed and easily identified with. A difficult book to put down once you get involved in the plot.
Beverly J Scott author of Righteous Revenge
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful. Let me count the ways....
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 more
Published on July 5 2004 by "cd-"
1.0 out of 5 stars 5-stars for what?!?!?!?
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 more
Published on June 25 2004 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A flowing saga, with nuggets of beauty
Stones from the River deals with a heroine who is everything a heroine is not. She is a small sized person, a 'dwarf' as it were, not remarkably pretty and not truly bestowed with... Read more
Published on May 28 2004 by TheIndianExpat
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
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 more
Published on May 26 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A Touching Novel
Ursula Hegi's "Stones from the River" is a very touching novel about a zwerge (dwarf) girl, Trudi, who lives in Burgdorf, Germany. Read more
Published on May 14 2004 by Emilie
4.0 out of 5 stars Excitingly moving
Reading Ursula Hegi's book, Stones from a River, for the first time was excitingly moving. The book is told by Trudi Montag, a dwarf girl, a zwerg in a little town of Burgdorf,... Read more
Published on May 10 2004 by Shana McMahon
2.0 out of 5 stars Meghan from CT
Stones from the River by Usula Heigi focuses on the life of a dwarf in Germany during the Nazi occupation. Read more
Published on May 9 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down
I read books during my 30-minute lunch break at work, and I sped through this novel, always wanting to sit for longer than those 30 minutes each day! Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2003 by EditorKatie
5.0 out of 5 stars Solitude and Diversity in World War II
This book is a book about diversity, and the solitude it brings on. Trudi Montag is a dwarf -a Zwerg- and this condition isolates her from other people, who are not able to see the... Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2003 by Spinillo Patrizio
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not easy being Zwerg
This is the story of an extraordinary person growing up in an extraordinary time. Trudi Montag is a Zwerg- dwarf- living in Germany during the Holocaust. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2003 by Amy
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