Stones From The River by Ursula Hegi
By Ursula Hegi
Added: 2 years ago
[scene opens with a still image of the cover of the book "Stones from the River"]
SILVIA TOLISANO: [in voice over] "Stones from the River" by Ursula Hegi is a ...
[cut to a photo of the author]
SILVIA TOLISANO: [in voice over] Um, is a book by a German American, and she does a wonderful job in describing a small community close to the Rhine River during the time of the Nazi uprising.
[cut to a photo of a Nazi war emblem]
SILVIA TOLISANO: [in voice over] And the main character is Trudi, a dwarf, who is part of that community and has a really wonderful chance to look at all the different characters, all the different members of this small town, and how they're dealing with what is going on politically around them.
[cut to a photo of a woman standing on a platform above the Rhine]
SILVIA TOLISANO: [in voice over] Uh, I really really liked the book because it helped me ... uh, it helped me see Germany from, which I remember as I was growing up, having lived there, and I recognized a lot of traditions and a different way of life.
Stones from the River
by Ursula Hegi
Release 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.
Stones from the River is the 1994 novel by Ursula Hegi, and was chosen as an Eagles selection in February 1997. It is about a woman named Trudi Montag who has dwarfism. The book chronicles her life in a village in Germany in the years before, during and after World War II.
Trudi Montag is born to a mentally-disturbed woman and a loving father who fought in World War I. The mother immediately rejects her daughter, and continues to do so until Trudi is a toddler, when she suddenly decides to embrace and love her. Trudi has dwarfism, and learns early that she is called a Zwerg, the German word for dwarf, by everyone in the village, and that most people are made uncomfortable by her physical difference. Her father is a librarian of his own pay library in their village of Burgdorf, running the library out of their home and charging patrons to borrow books. Trudi is deeply resentful of her physical difference, but learns to use her uniqueness in a variety of ways to her advantage, mostly to discover the secrets of various villagers, but also to enact vengeance toward others. She discovers various gifts she has, from her own bravery in the face of mass evil to being able to see into people's hearts. By the end of the story, Trudi reflects on the positive relationships she has had and the ways in which she has contributed to her own suffering and that of the others. The young girl soon realizes her impact over others by the end of this novel.