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Floating In My Mother's Palm, Stones From The River, The Vision Of Emma Blau, Children And Fire.
The fourth novel in the Burgdorf Cycle Though more than fifteen years have passed since Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River captivated critics and readers alike, it retains its popularity, is on academic reading lists, and continues to be adopted by book groups. Also set in Burgdorf, Germany, Hegi's Children and Fire tells the story of a single day that will forever transform the lives of the townspeople. At the core of this remarkable novel is the question of how one teacher--gifted and joyful, passionate and inventive--can become seduced by propaganda during the early months of Hitler's regime and encourage her ten-year-old students to join the "Hitler-Jugend" with its hikes and songs and bonfires. Membership, she believes, will be a step toward better schools, better apprenticeships. How can a woman we admire choose a direction we don't admire? So much has changed for the teacher, Thekla Jansen, and the people of Burgdorf in the year since the parliament building burned. Thekla's lover, Emil Hesping, is sure the Nazis did it to frame the communists. But Thekla believes what she hears on the radio, that the communists set the fire, and she's willing to relinquish some of her freedoms to keep her teaching position. She has always taken her moral courage for granted, but when each silent agreement chips away at that courage, she knows she must reclaim it. Hegi funnels pivotal moments in history through the experiences of individual characters: Thekla's mother, who works as a housekeeper for a Jewish family; her employers, Michel and Ilse Abramowitz; Thekla's mentally ill father; Trudi Montag and her father, Leo Montag; Fräulein Siderova, midwife to the dying; and the students who adore their young teacher. As Ursula Hegi writes along that edge where sorrow and bliss meet, she shows us how one society--educated, cultural, compassionate--can slip into a reality that's fabricated by propaganda and controlled by fear, how a surge of national unity can be manipulated into the dehumanization of a perceived enemy and the justification of torture and murder. Gorgeously rendered and emotionally taut, Children and Fire confirms Ursula Hegi's position as one of the most distinguished writers of her generation.
Floating in My Mother's Palm is the compelling and mystical story of Hanna Malter, a young girl growing up in 1950's Burgdorf, the small German town Ursula Hegi so brilliantly brought to life in her bestselling novel Stones from the River. Hanna's courageous voice evokes her unconventional mother, who swims during thunderstorms; the illegitimate son of an American GI, who learns from Hanna about his father; and the librarian, Trudi Montag, who lets Hanna see her hometown from a dwarf's extraordinary point of view. Although Ursula Hegi wrote Floating in My Mother's Palm first, it can be read as a sequel to Stones from the River.
The bestselling author of Stones from the River and The Vision of Emma Blau renews her reputation as an extraordinary writer of short stories in this major collection that balances her reader on the magical border of laughter and sorrow. In Hotel of the Saints, Hegi enters the perspectives of lovers and loners, eccentrics and artists, children and parents: a musician tries to protect her daughter from loving a blind man; a seminary student yearns for the certainty of faith that belonged to him as a boy; a woman transcends her embarrassment for her first love, who has tripled in size. Ursula Hegi's bicultural background enriches these eleven luminous stories that are set in Europe, Mexico, and the United States. Her characters take risks in searching out the unique places where faith thrives for each of them -- a rundown hotel, the currents of Cabo San Lucas, the embrace of an ex-convict. And once again, she surrounds them with her elegant language and exquisite images.
Brilliantly stretching literary conventions, Ursula Hegi, author of the best-selling Stones from the River, creates a funny and original novel within a novel to explore the doubts, decisions, and "might-have-beens" that mark not only the writing process but life itself. As her "author" and her fictional heroine deal with their intrusions into each other's lives, Hegi reveals much about the choices women make, the ambiguities they face, and the often surprising ways reality and fiction merge.
The bestselling author of Stones from the River delivers her most ambitious and dramatic novel yet -- the unforgettable story of an endearing, but also flawed, Italian American family. In December 1953 Anthony Amedeo's world is nested in his Bronx neighborhood, his parents' Studebaker, the Paradise Theater, Yankee Stadium -- and in his imagination, where he longs for a stencil kit to decorate the windows like all the other kids on his street. Instead he gets a very different present: his uncle Malcolm's family. Malcolm is in jail for stealing -- once again -- from his last new job, and Anthony's aunt and twin cousins settle into the Amedeos' fifth-floor walk-up. Sharing a room with girls is excruciating for Anthony, despite his affinity for the twins. But the real change in Anthony's life comes one evening when he causes the unthinkable to happen, changing each family member's life forever. Evoking all the plenty and optimism of postwar America, Sacred Time spans three generations, taking us from the Bronx of the 1950s to contemporary Brooklyn. Keenly observing the dark side of family as well as its gracefulness, Hegi has outdone herself with this captivating novel about childhood's tenderness and the landscape of loneliness. Ultimately she reveals how the transforming power of a singular event can reverberate through a family for generations. With gravity and poise, Hegi turns her astute yet forgiving eye on the essential frailty and dignity of the human condition in this elegant and fast-paced novel.
Salt Dancers is at once a brilliant portrait of an American family, a story of the secrets families guard, and a moving account of one woman's journey back to a past filled with elusive memories and suppressed rage. Why did Julia's mother disappear one day without so much as a word? How did a loving father who taught her such a beautiful thing as the salt dance become such a terrifying and abusive presence? These are the questions which Julia must confront when she returns to Spokane, Washington, after an absence of twenty-three years. Salt Dancers, a superbly written novel, is a poignant and truthful chronicle of self-discovery and the power of resurrection.
Stones from the River is a daring, dramatic and complex novel of life in Germany. It is set in Burgdorf, a small fictional German town, between 1915 and 1951. The protagonist is Trudi Montag, a Zwerg -- the German word for dwarf woman. As a dwarf she is set apart, the outsider whose physical "otherness" has a corollary in her refusal to be a part of Burgdorf's silent complicity during and after World War II. Trudi establishes her status and power, not through beauty, marriage, or motherhood, but rather as the town's librarian and relentless collector of stories. Through Trudi's unblinking eyes, we witness the growing impact of Nazism on the ordinary townsfolk of Burgdorf as they are thrust on to a larger moral stage and forced to make choices that will forever mark their lives. Stones from the River is a story of secrets, parceled out masterfully by Trudi -- and by Ursula Hegi -- as they reveal the truth about living through unspeakable times.
Brilliantly interviewed by bestselling novelist Ursula Hegi, German Americans born in Germany during and immediately following World War II speak out about the legacy of grief and shame that continues to haunt them.
This book is the collection of the author's interviews with twelve German-born Americans, and their conflict with the silence surrounding the Holocaust.
In this stunning collection of stories, bestselling author Ursula Hegi focuses on the problems of love -- familial, parental, conjugal, and emergent. With compassion and her "unfailing immediacy of language," she raises the struggles of her characters to a plane of recognition that enables them to transcend despair. Life and death, age and youth, attained hopes and unearned pleasures, provide the human settings for a brilliant exploration of life at its most pointed and significant.
From the acclaimed author of Stones from the River comes a luminous epic of a bicultural family filled with passion and aspirations, tragedy and redemption.At the heart of this multigenerational novel is an intriguing question: If you knew that you could experience a significant love once in your life, would you want these years at the beginning or at the end?At the beginning of the twentieth century, Stefan Blau flees Burgdorf, a small town in Germany, and comes to America in search of the vision that has grafted itself to his mind so tenaciously that he's dreamed of it every single night. The novel closes nearly a century later with Stefan's granddaughter, Emma, and the legacy of his dream, a once-grand apartment house filled with the hidden truths of its inhabitants both past and present. Ursula Hegi creates a fascinating picture of immigrants in America: their dreams and disappointments, the challenges of assimilation, the frailty of language and its transcendence, the love that bonds generations and the cultural wedges that drive them irrevocably apart.With her celebrated prose and clear-eyed characterisation, Ursula Hegi revisits the realm that earned her such a wide readership and critical acclaim with Stones from the River.
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