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The Vision Of Emma Blau (Burgdorf Cycle #3)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  2,095 ratings  ·  170 reviews
If you knew that you would experience significant love just once in your life, would you want these years at the beginning, or at the end? This is the luminous epic of a bicultural family filled with passion and aspirations, tragedy and redemption.
Unknown Binding
Published August 6th 2001 by Not Avail (first published 2000)
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Ursula Hegi is magnificent! The way she captures the emotions and inner motivations that lead to the consequences and reactions of the characters is so realistic it transforms the reader. We learn about each character through their own narrative, in their own time, as this story spans generations of a German-American family from 1909 until very nearly the present. I was most taken with the amazing transition from descriptive narrative and dialogue into the unspoken thoughts of the character, rev ...more
Bonnie G
I was really taken by this book. The Wasserburg apartment building is the central character, very clever device, I think. Within it many characters are drawn in clever ways. I especially liked the depiction of how Germans in America felt during the wars, as all my relatives must have gone through some of the same feelings. Suspected for being "one of them." I also liked the description of the bond between Emma and her grandfather. Although it became obsessive, it was a deep link that we all feel ...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Stefan Blau runs away from his home in Germany when he is a young man. He's always dreamed of living in America. He eventually finds himself in New Hampshire, building a beautiful apartment building, running a restaurant, and doing his best to provide for his family.

Honestly, this book might have suffered from too many interruptions. My review is definitely suffering from allowing too much time to go by between finishing the book and reviewing it.

I mostly enjoyed this, my problem was that I felt
I tend to love character driven stories like The Vision of Emma Blau that span multiple generations. Combined with Ursula Hegi's terrific writing and insights, this made for a great read. The Vision of Emma Blau is a spinoff of Stones from the River, detailing the parallel story that starts with Stephen Blau running away from Bergdorf to find his way in America. He finally settles in New Hampshire and the story follows his family for several generations. I knocked a star only because I liked Sto ...more
Ursula Hegi's three generation family saga starts brilliantly and ends well, but in the middle, it becomes cumbersome and tiring. In movie trilogies, the second episode often seems like it is only there to connect the first and the third. I felt the same way about the middle generation in this story of the family started by a German immigrant at the turn of the 20th century. Like the apartment block he envisions, builds, protects and loves, his family also begins to develop fractures and cracks ...more
Nov 15, 2007 Abigail rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Immigrant story readers, Generational American family
It almost seemed like the author was trying to put in every conceivable family issue or events in the book except for incest. Such as the gay stepbrother who is bitter at his father all his life over a cruel childhood punishment to the granddaughter and her illegitimate child who likes his father's family better. LOL. But it was well written and because it was a generational book it never got boring. I got really engaged and frustrated right along with Emma when she had to keep defending herself ...more
Ursula Hegi, author of Stones From The River which I read a few years ago and thought then of what an imagination to write a story of a dwarf girl living in a small village in Germany. Now to take some of those same characters and bring them to America at the turn of the century and to live the experiences of being a German immigrant especially as they were looked down upon during both WWI and WWII. Hegi is a detailed writer, thoughtful and entertaining.
While decades and centuries pass, needs, desires, aspirations, and failings remain the same. While the similarities are recognizable, human knowledge based on scientific research has advanced our ability to "perhaps" face failings and fragility in ourself and others realistically and with compassion.
Loved Stones from the River - this one didn't capture me as much. I remain interested in the experiences of everyday German citizens before , during and after WWII, so will read more of her books.
Davis Aujourd'hui
I was an avid fan of Stones from the River. This new book features the American side of that family. It is a book that crosses cultures and provides a rich exploration of generations within the same family. It explores the impact that one generation can have on the next. Most importantly, it focuses upon the quality of love and forgiveness and the lasting positive impact that those qualities can provide.

This provides the book with a deeply spiritual theme. As the author of a spiritually-themed n
Ursula Hegi is a truly gifted writer with a magical ability to bring a story to life vividly. STONES FROM THE RIVER, my first literary encounter with Ms. Hegi's work, was one of my favorite books so naturally I was looking forward to reading THE VISION OF EMMA BLAU, which is a spin-off of the previously mentioned novel. Stefan Blau was the son of 2 of the villagers in Trudi Montag's hometown in Germany who ran away to America when he was 13 years old - this is the story of his American legacy.

This was a good book, although not as good as Stones from the River, by the same author. I wouldn't call this a 'sequel' although there is some character overlap. The two books stand alone though. The strength of this book lies in its characters. Everyone is likeable yet flawed, but not overly-flawed. Some, more flawed than others. Some, more likeable than others. Even the "bit" characters are wonderful. I especially liked the way the characters interacted. How they loved and fought like real pe ...more
Teen-aged Stefan Blau runs away from his family in Germany to America where he learns his trade as a chef. He settles in a small New Hampshire town, marries and starts and family, and eventually builds a splendid six-story apartment house on the shores of Lake Winnepesaukee. Aha, I thought, this is the book for me. I like multigenerational stories, and I know some of the little towns near “the lake” in central New Hampshire. But the setting never really came alive for me; the story could have ta ...more
Ohhh...the dregs of reading this book.

At first I thought I lost my "zest" for reading when in reality I lost my appetite for reading this book. Many times over I would have to glance at the cover to re-read the author's name - not sure if Ursula Hegi was a woman. She has a very masculine prespective.

Well, let's see, The Vision of Emma Blau isn't entirely about Miss Emma but rather her lineage. Her Grandpa, Stefen Blau, ran away from Germany to America at a ripe, young age and stared a new life,
Kathleen Payne
I picked this book up because I recognized the author, Ursula Hegi, as the author of Stones From the River. Well into the book I recognized her writing style, and I hadn't ready Stones From The River in over 20 years. It is one of those "epic" books that just keeps on going and "where are we really going?" It is a good book and an interesting read of German and American blends of life.
This book landed on my to-read list because I have a particular affinity for books that include a house as a character. The Vision of Emma Blau certainly hits the mark with the Wasserburg taking center stage. While I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of this fascinating place and the people involved with it, my appreciation for this book ends there.

While Hegi's writing is rich and emotional, this book has an overall feeling of melancholy. The first portion of the book was enhanced by some light
Suzanne Cooper
Dec 23, 2014 Suzanne Cooper rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzanne by: sister Deb
Shelves: fiction
Stefen Blau left Burgdorf at the age of 13 in "Stones.." & makes his dream a reality: a grand apartment building on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. ( which means 'Smile of the Great Spirit') He raised his family & sees years go by, tenants come & go & at last his beloved grand daughter Emma takes over. She loves her 'Opa's' beloved Wasserberg, but it rules her.
I think Hegi is a fabuolous storyteller. At times it seemed a little long to me but that may have been because I was tired. I liked it because I related to the immigrant experiences of the characters in the book. Tho I'm not one, my father and grandparents were and there were always lots of stories and interactions with their immigrant friends when I was a kid.
Sometimes I read a book,and I feel so lonely when I finish it. Ursula Hegi is such a vivid and articulate writer, to the extent that when I turn my last page of her books, I feel as though my friend has moved away.

I think her most far reaching lesson that I take from "the Vision of Emma Blau", and from "Stones from the River", was that, "not every German is a Nazi". From race, to religion, to sexual orientation, to a 'family name", (as human nature) we tend to point fingers, and think that we k
Terri Jacobson
This book is a companion novel to Stones from the River. Stones from the River is an outstanding novel which follows the lives of citizens of the German town Burgdorf. The Vision of Emma Blau follows some of the characters from the earlier work. It is a huge family saga about the lives of Stephan Blau and his family, from the years 1894-1990. Blau leaves Germany when he is just a teen-ager, and the book chronicles his life in America. The books share some of the same characters from the town Bur ...more
I recently read "Stones on the River", so I was interested to read this book. While "Stones" is about the Blau family during the times of WWI and WWII, the "Vision of Emma Blau" is about the other side of the Blau family, those who left and lived in the US.

It is a book about the immigrant experience - outdoing Americans and being blamed for working hard. During WWII, the suspicious German accents set them apart from the neighbors that they have lived with for years.

The second half of the book
I feel like I've been giving too many 4 star ratings lately. If I could have given 3 1/2 I would have. Take that as you will.
I'm a giant sucker for epic, multigenerational family stories, so in that vein, this was perfect. But I felt that some eras were much better fleshed out than others; for instance, I never really got to know Emma, despite her being the title character, Yvonne was a bit 2-dimensional, and I felt that Greta's personality read a little flat; more could have been done with her
Greta Masters
I was so excited to listen to this audiobook because I dearly love Stones from the River. It just didn't have the same charm, the same joy, the same level of intensity. Perhaps it was because it was edited by the author for audiobook, but I just didn't love it.
Caroline David
I liked this book but I didn't love it. That being said, I had to finish it. I didn't buy into the love of the house and the presence it had. I did like the characters though.
Dec 24, 2008 Lauren is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Any book that can break my heart multiple times in the first 30 pages is worth my time, and probably yours. Hegi is my new favorite -- her books feel anchored deeply in an experience of life that pulls no punches and yet always manages to feel celebratory. At the same time there is something gritty and, I think, very German about her characters and their lives -- though I am not sure I why I think this, aside from the obvious fact that they are German immigrants and the subsequent German-America ...more
Read and liked Floating in My Mother's Palm. Am hoping this will erase Nora Roberts from my head.

I was strangely disappointed by this book and am not exactly sure why. There is a kind of emotional texturing that works well for the stories of the first and second generations but seems monotonous and worn as the book goes on. The ruling passions--the house for the patriarch--the family/child for the matriarch: I wanted these to grow weightier; they became flimsier, the characters more transparent.
Not as good as Stones From the River but enjoyed the characters. Made me want to re-read Stones.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fred Fisher
This book follows one family from the late 19th Century until the 1990's. I hadn't heard of this writer before picking up this book in a free bin at Frugal Muse. I enjoyed this saga of a troubled family so much, I will be looking for more of her works and she has quite a few. I was saddened by how badly the family ends up and the many troubles they have along the way. Hegi's writing is vivid and I was able to picture what she was writing about in a vivid way. I do recommend this to people who li ...more
I was drawn to this book because I loved Ursula Hegi's "Stones From the River" so much, and this book is spin-off of that. It did not disappoint. Ursula Hegi is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I find myself enmeshed in the lives of her characters.
In "The Vision of Emma Blau," the character I connected most with is Robert. I understood his struggle with the demon inside himself that he refered to as "Fatboy." As with all of Hegi's characters, Robert was complex and believable, and I found my
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Ursula Hegi is the author of 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 is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards.
More about Ursula Hegi...

Other Books in the Series

Burgdorf Cycle (4 books)
  • Stones from the River
  • Floating in My Mother's Palm
  • Children and Fire
Stones from the River Floating in My Mother's Palm Sacred Time Children and Fire Salt Dancers

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