CynthiaA's Reviews > Stones from the River

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
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's review
Jan 23, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: pre-2008, favorites, set-during-ww1-ww2, oprahs-bookshelf
Read in April, 2005

I LOVED this book. The imagery and metaphors are excuisite. The character of Trudi is so wonderfully complex and human (damaged yet lovable -- even admirable at times). The other characters are beautifully crafted and incredibly believable.The setting -- of Germany post WWI and during/post WWII -- incredibly done. It gave the reader a real comprehension of how the political situation took root and became what it ultmately was.

The story was both compassionate and yet judgemental. Honest but not brutally so. It delved into all the things that have not been said -- still to this day, things unsaid.There were so many wonderful bits and pieces that I would love to get into... but I have to admit,I struggle a bit with the ending. It didn't "ruin" the book nor did it change my opinion of the story's effectiveness or power. But it didn't provide anything further either. I think the story could have ended 3 pages sooner and been far more believable.

I get most of what the author is trying to do at the end -- I understand Trudi's sudden comprehension that she really does belong. I understand her realization of using stories to heal, not hurt. I understand her fight against the silence. Maybe another reader will have some enlightened opinions about the last 3 pages that will help me. :o) I really enjoyed Trudi's ability to "see" things about people, and to know things without being told. Although she certainly didn't have that ability with her own life circumstances, did she?

Anyhow, the book certainly moved me. In ways I didn't expect. It tackled many difficult subjects including religion, politics, bigotry, mental illness, and physical disability. There were so many threads wound together in a beautiful life-like tapestry of emotions: love, hate, fear, desire, obsession, generosity, beauty, shame, power, cowardice, courage, gentleness, compulsion, belonging, bigotry. And the many metaphors -- of storytelling, of the river, of the river's stones, of the island for little people, of books and painting, of motherhood... All this and effectively set against a backdrop of Nazi Germany... It really is an incredible work. I just need to figure out the ending, LOL.
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03/08/2016 marked as: read

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