Stones from the River
By Ursula Hegi
(Touchstone, Paperback, 9780684844770, 528pp.)
Publication Date: March 1, 1997
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.
Ursula Hegi is the author of The Worst Thing I've Done, Sacred Time, Hotel of the Saints, The Vision of Emma Blau, Tearing the Silence, Salt Dancers, Stones from the River, Floating in My Mother's Palm, Unearned Pleasures and Other Stories, Intrusions, and Trudi & Pia. She teaches writing at Stonybrook's Southhampton Campus and she is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards.
Michael Dorris Los Angeles Times What a novel is supposed to be: epic, daring, magnificent, the product of a definging and mesmerizing vision...It is in a word, remarkable.
Suzanne Ruta The New York Times Book Review Rich and lively...This moving, elegiac novel commands our compassion and respect for the wisdom and courage to be found in unlikely places, in unlikely times.