Stories are collected about many characters in this complex novel by Ursula Hegi. You’ll get to know an entire community whose story gets a little strange sometimes.
Protagonist Trudi Montag, a Zwerg, a term for German dwarf woman, shares her secrets to survival through two wars living in Germany and describes her community in intimate detail. Trudi has a secret way with people. She’s the collector of her community’s secrets. Trudi’s loved ones were fond of listening to her stories, and she exposes a lot, which is a delight for the reader. Storytelling becomes important in hiding we learn.
As historical as this novel is with its war themes, it is also appealing for it’s emotional coming of age subject matter. Anyone who has struggled with acceptance or who has always felt a little different will find commonality with Trudi and many other characters in this story, which that spans 1915 to 1951. These themes will stay with you and are good for discussion.
I highly recommend this book, but readers should know it’s not a breezy read. Extra points because Trudi is a librarian, whose father ran a pay library!
If you liked Stones from the River, check out Floating in My Mother’s Palm by Hegi, which is centered on the same small town. What do you think about Hegi? Leave a comment. We want to know.