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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully moving book, Dec 18 2003
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
I have read her novel, Stones from the River, and because of that novel, I didn't hesitate to buy this one. I still don't regret buying this novel. It's beautifully written, lyrically so and haunting.
Hanna loses her mother at a young age but this book is not only a reflection of her mother, but of the people and their stories in her town. Told from Hanna's point of view and at different ages, the people in that town becomes alive through her eyes. She makes them real. She makes their stories real and valid.
It is an emotional book ~~ where her housekeeper's son finds out he's illegimate; where she watches her childhood friend raped by her grandfather give up the baby she had come to love; watches her neighbor in the apartment above them give himself to man after man who degrades him. And other stories as well.
This is a book perfect for reading groups to read and to discuss ~~ there are lots of different stories in here and it's not written poorly like too many other books out there today.
12-18-03
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5.0 out of 5 stars splendid, moving story, Oct. 14 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
This book has left an indelible impression. Everything Ursula Hegi has written has been enjoyable, moving, and thought-provoking, but this little book overwhelmed me. Images from the book have stayed with me over the years; some sad and some uplifting. A remarkable book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Themes in the book, Feb. 9 2003
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
Floating in My Mother's Palm was a great book. There were many themes in the book, but only a couple stood out the most for me. Faith most definitely was a primary theme in this book. Faith came into place when Hanna's grandmother had a disease that spread throughout her body. It also came into place when Hanna's friend had polio in her leg. Hanna rubbed holy water on the little girl's leg that she had stolen from church. Both the girls believed and had faith that by doing this the little girl's leg would heal.
Fear was also incorporated into this book. In took place in a one of the chapter's where a man by the name of Siegfried Tegern kept having a bad dream about dying. This fear compelled him to buy several dogs to protect him, which in the end, became his destruction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written chronicle of a town--and a life, Feb. 1 2003
By 
Talia Carner "Novelist" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
In the tight community of Burgdorf, a girl observes the foibles of the town's people as they go about their lives. Each neighbor--young or old-- somehow touches Hanna's life, unintentionally parting with a lesson, depositing a memory that makes up a childhood. The events unfold in Hegi's lyrical, mellifluous voice, rich with the texture of the people and smells of the place.
Floating In My Mother's Palm is structured less in a novel format that in the form of interlinking short stories. Eventually, the characters that reappear in Hegi's stories become familiar with their physical traits and idiosyncrasies. Some, like Trudy the dwarf, populate Hegi's Stones From The River.
Growing up in a loving home of a father who is the town's dentist and a mother who is an accomplished painter, Hannah the child observes life's tragedies as they happen to others, never to her, until her mother's premature death. Interestingly, this event, which is foreshadowed in the opening of the book, is skimmed over. Hannah indulges in memories of her remarkable mother, but the emotional devastation expected from the start of the book and supported by the tone of the other tragedies is curiously missing. Even the adult Hannah selects only two of her mother's paintings out of an atticful. When tragedy strikes Hannah, it is less impactful than those taking place in other households.
Floating In My Mother's Palm is a beautifully told story that holds the reader's attention and never lets go. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A snippet of a life, June 18 2001
By 
atmj (Rochester, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
RECOLLECTION OF A YOUNG LIFE BEFORE THE DEATH OF HER MOTHER. The book is aptly named. Floating in my Mother's palm is a girl's (Hanna) recollection of different bits and pieces of her life before her other-than-conventional mother (Jutta) died in a small town (Burgdorf) in post WWII Germany. Through out the stories, Hanna recollects, you can see the guiding post of her mother at each important point.
FLOATING.. IS THE FIRST OF TWO BOOKS, BUT IS SET LATER IN TIME. The second book is Stones from the River, which chronicles the life of Trudi Montag; a young dwarf woman that is one of the key characters in young Hanna's life. I would recommend reading "Stones from the River" prior to this book as it sets the stage for many of the characters in this book. However, these are differently constructed books. I found myself trying to link the facts (they were consistent) and found, I might be missing the point of the story. It's not the details but the interweaving of events that fashion a life. Stones from the River uses the details of a very different life to weave the story of Trudi Montag. Floating uses broader strokes to paint Hanna's tale.
HANNA LIKE TRUDI, LEARNS FROM THE OUTSIDERS VIEWPOINT Hanna's unconventional mother Jutta is a painter and is close to her daughter in an different sense. She passes on to her daughter her "unclouded" view of people and society and with this Hanna experiences many different sides of the small town she grows up in. Trudi Montag, the town grape vine, also adds to this unique view as she is only too happy to provide Hanna with the knowledge of the town's darker side.
A short book in comparison with Stones from the River, but one very complete in its own sense.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written, Well Told, May 30 2001
By 
Maurice Williams "mauricewms" (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
There are two things that must come together to form an excellent novel - a good story and the ability to find the words to tell it. Hegi is a master storyteller and gifted in her use of language to convey strong characters in memorable settings. Floating in My Mother's Palm is a first person account of the childhood of its main character, Hanna. As Hanna recounts aspects of her life that shaped her character and perspective, she introduces you to other characters in the town of Burgdorf and provides a view into their lives that make the town and its people real in every aspect. Each character is reminiscent of someone I've known from my own life. Its remarkable how the lives of characters from a small town in Germany can be so similar to those in Anytown, USA. The situations may be different but the issues are the same. Many of the characters in the novel appear in other work by Hegi, making the body of her work an intimate experience, leaving the reader feeling like they are getting closer and closer to each character with each novel read. Hegi's writing has never disappointed me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written, Well Told .. ., May 23 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
There are two things that must come together to form an excellent novel - a good story and the ability to find the words to tell it. Hegi is a master storyteller and gifted in her use of language to convey strong characters in memorable settings. Floating in My Mother's Palm is a first person account of the childhood of its main character, Hanna. As Hanna recounts aspects of her life that shaped her character and perspective, she introduces you to other characters in the town of Burgdorf and provides a view into their lives that make the town and its people real in every aspect. Each character is reminiscent of someone I've known from my own life. Its remarkable how the lives of characters from a small town in Germany can be so similar to those in Anytown, USA. The situations may be different but the issues are the same. Many of the characters in the novel appear in other work by Hegi, making the body of her work an intimate experience, leaving the reader feeling like they are getting closer and closer to each character with each novel read. Hegi's writing has never disappointed me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rich and Poetic, March 9 2001
By 
Kaya McLaren (Hailey, ID, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
Rich with a poetic style and flavor all its own, Floating in My Mother's Palm, is a beautiful exploration of the complexities of small towns. The depth and compassion with which these stories are told are unforgettable. This is a work I will never forget. -Kaya McLaren, author of Church of the Dog
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Treat, May 1 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
There are few better artists than Hegi when it comes to evoking a sense of longing and hope as she delves deeply into the created characters. I was transported into the lives of these memorable individuals and will forever have a difficult time in leaving them behind. Bravo! I will read any Hegi material I can get my hands on!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A delectable slice of provincial life, March 5 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Floating in My Mother's Palm (Paperback)
If Ursula Hegi's "Floating In My Mother's Palm" doesn't read like a novel, it's because it is a collection of loosely but seamlessly connected short stories which offer the reader a delectable taste of provincial life in post-war Germany. The unifying factor is Hanna Malter, a young girl growing up in the small town of Burgdorf amidst a seemingly large and disparate cast of characters who in one way or another shape her childhood experiences. These stories tell of idiosyncracies, deformities, illegimacy, masochism, incest, dark premonitions, murder, suicide, madness, magic and healing, but in the most gentle, lyrical and dream like way possible, ie a million miles away from the cheap sensationalism common to purveyors of pulp fiction. Each story is complete in itself and without exception, beautifully told. Readers of this wonderful collection of vignettes is going to have his own personal favourites. Therein lies the fun - it's like choosing from a box of chocolates. There is a pervading sense of sadness in these tales which spring from the religious limitations and provincial-mindedness of a society on the fringe, but you're never conscious of it until it's over and you get the chance to reflect on it. Hegi's talent and integrity as a writer is self evident in the way she has achieved the near impossible, that of transforming characters with the makings of a grotesque into believable human beings. The result is a poetic and strangely uplifting novel that is a joy to read. Highly recommended.
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Floating in My Mother's Palm
Floating in My Mother's Palm by Ursula Hegi (Paperback - July 3 1998)
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