Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: Stones from the River by Urusula Hegi (@ 1994) (Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995)

Ursula Hegi writes the story of Trudi Montag, a Zwerg -- a dwarf -- different from everyone in her world with great compassion and true sense of understanding who Trudi is and what her struggles are.

Trudi's story is set in the small town of Burgdorf in Germany.  It is 1915 and as the story begins, almost all the men of Burgdorf are at the eastern front fighting a war.  The women are in control of their homes, children and even the town.  And this is the world Trudi is born into.

These women care for the infant Trudi -- her mother is mentally ill and shows no interest in the tiny babe.  

From the outset Trudi's differences are quickly noted.  Her eyes look older than those of an infant.  She is stout, her head looking larger than her body.  Early in her childhood Trudi comes to believe that everyone can know, just as she does, what is going on inside everyone else.

Hegi continues Trudi's story through both World Wars, interspersing vignettes involving other characters who impact Trudi in a variety of ways -- loving, hurtful and compromising ways.

Despite her setbacks and differences, Trudi faces up to and conquers many difficult situations.  It is a story of courage, determination and strength.

Hegi has delivered an epic work in Trudi's story -- a story applicable to our own times.  Written with a candor that holds the reader's interest, Hegi touches on the core of the Nazi's desire to eliminate those they deemed less than human.  Differences have always existed between the peoples of our world, and they continue to exist.  Trudi's story brings to harsh reality the truth of our humanity to man.  This is a work for all time.


  1. I read this book many years ago. I think I need to read it again. Thank you for posting your review.

    1. This was one I uncovered helping our brother and SIL begin the downsizing process. I'd never heard of it or the author, but if my BIL had read it then I knew it must be good! So glad I brought it home with me. :)


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