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Stones from the River Paperback – March 1, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Though a circus dwarf once comforts her by describing a fantasyland filled with gold and jewels, where everyone is a zwerg, Trudi finds that real life is not so magical. She is physically and emotionally assaulted, and, as a teenager, watches in horror as the Nazis come to power and assault and later "deport" her Jewish friends, who are now considered "different." Trudi's experience of her own "otherness" makes her a sympathetic friend and active supporter of the local Jews, and Hegi evokes great power by connecting the overwhelming Nazi horrors with the life of one small person in one small community. Through Trudi, Burgdorf's citizens come alive--those who befriend her and those who reject her, those who support her efforts to help the Jews and those who don't, and those who pity her and those who are inspired by her.
Throughout the novel, Hegi shows the power of storytelling to influence lives. Trudi works in her father's pay-library, and she is the community's best known storyteller, creating entertaining and lively stories that teach lessons, especially during the war years. But Trudi is no Pollyanna--she also uses her storytelling as a weapon against those who offend her, wreaking her own brand of personal vengeance. As the novel evolves, her childhood companions come and go.Read more ›
Trudi is a zwerg girl, a dwarf, who at first puts her faith in prayer, wishing to grow taller. She is confident in the divine power and, especially after meeting another zwerg woman named Pia, a lion tamer, feels more positive about herself and the possibility of "normalcy." However, after four abusive neighborhood boys find her too different and repulsive to even rape and instead humiliate her and disrobe her, she loses all faith in prayer, and from then on seems to take nothing for granted, developing an early conviction of justice.
By the end of the novel, after the World War II horrors have come to light and Germany begins to put itself back together, Trudi and the allied forces are able to finally deal out their justice. As the Americans move in it is now the Nazi supporters which are the ones being investigated and ostracized, as they had done to the Jews and dissidents. Once again, the themes of the stones in the river/gravel beneath the skin are set upon the town.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Slow to get started but picks up in the middle - then it gets slow again. Probably a lot longer than it needs to be. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Sally Mercer
A WWII story in part about German villagers' struggle for survival when neighbor turns against neighbor.Published 3 months ago by Susan G. Bickley
Loved, loved, loved this book!!
It has a permanent place on my "Favorites" bookshelf!
A beautiful study of human nature--good and evil. On finishing it, I immediately ordered the next book in the series.Published 4 months ago by Doting grandmother
Well written. A book I'm glad I read albeit a bit tedious in places. The story of Germany and WWII, Hitler's rise to power, and his control over German citizens, along with his... Read morePublished 4 months ago by AuntCarolynSisterNanaMom