I read this for Book Club L. This isn’t a book I would have picked up on my own, which is one of the things I like about being in a club. For the first time in the over 9 years the group has been meeting, there were more people that hadn’t finished the book than that had (3-2, usually everyone finishes). And in spite of that, we had a really good discussion of the book.
rating: 4 of 5 stars
The book is the story of Trudi, a dwarf woman in Germany before, during, and after WWII. She is an observer of her town, never quite fitting in.
We see a town that seems to be of good people, until Hitler comes to power. Some embrace Hitler as a savior of the German people. Others think it best to go along and not make waves, that everything will be better soon. And others do what they can to resist, either in the open (which quickly gets them captured or killed) or under cover of darkness.
And all through this, life goes on. People are married, they have affairs. Babies are born and kids argue with their parents.
Through all of this, Trudi collects the town’s stories. The stories form a stream, and we see the ripples as the stories impact each other, and as Trudi uses the stories to change her life by affecting others.
I had some minor problems that got in my way while reading the book, but they were the exceptions.
The language in Stones from the River is beautiful. It is unusual for me to say that without combining it with a complaint that it got in my way while reading the book. It did slow down my reading. The book is a slow read, which is probably why my book club had so many members that didn’t finish reading it.
This book made for excellent discussion. The book called for comparisons to other books and movies (I was interested in the similarities and differences between Stones From the River and The Book Thief). We also discussed the echos from the events in this book and current events.