Susan Katz's Reviews > Children and Fire

Children and Fire by Ursula Hegi
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Jul 26, 11

bookshelves: adult-fiction

This book has inspired me to immediately seek out the rest of Hegi's Burgdorf cycle. I'd read and loved Stones from the River, and when I read a review of this book set in the same small German village in the first half of the twentieth century, a companion book to Stones, I got hold of it immediately. Characters who in the first book were minor here spring to full life. Wilhelm Jansen, the shell-shocked veteran, reveals here his earlier history, his marriage to a pregnant woman and the fate of their child, who becomes the central character in this book. Trudi Montag, the dwarf protagonist of Stones, is here merely an occasional background figure, though an interesting one to a reader who already knows her story and can see here, through Thekla Jansen, how Trudi is viewed by townspeople. It also presents a more complete portrayal of Bruno Stosick, the boy who committed suicide in Stones because he wasn't allowed to join the Hitler-Jugend. Particularly fascinating to me was the story of Ilse and Michel Abramowitz who are seen here from a different and deeper perspective than Trudi's. A wonderful, wonderfully written account of what happens when propaganda is substituted for truth, and fear for reason, an issue Americans should certainly be thinking about in our own current political climate.
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