THE VISION OF EMMA BLAU.

Hegi, Ursula.

ISBN 10: 0684829975 / ISBN 13: 9780684829975
Published by New York: Simon & Schuster, (2000.) dj
Used Hardcover
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About this Item

SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. The most ambitious - and perhaps the best - novel by the author of 'Stones from the River.' This is an epic novel, spanning almost 100 years from 1894 to 1990, in the lives of a German American family in a small town in New Hampshire. SIGNED on a blank prelim page. 432 pp. Near fine in fine dust jacket (light creasing to first few pages.). Bookseller Inventory # 52482

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Bibliographic Details

Title: THE VISION OF EMMA BLAU.

Publisher: New York: Simon & Schuster, (2000.) dj

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

From one of our most distinctive literary voices -- the eagerly anticipated companion novel to the phenomenal "New York Times" bestseller, "Stones from the River." At the heart of this multigenerational novel by critically acclaimed author Ursula Hegi is an intriguing question: If you knew that you could experience a significant love once in your life, would you want these years at the beginning or at the end? "The Vision of Emma Blau" is the luminous epic of a bicultural family filled with passion and aspirations, tragedy and redemption. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Stefan Blau flees Burgdorf, a small town in Germany, and comes to America in search of the vision that has grafted itself to his mind so tenaciously that he's dreamed of it every single night. The novel closes nearly a century later with Stefan's grand-daughter, Emma, and the legacy of his dream, a once-grand apartment house filled with the hidden truths of its inhabitants both past and present. Ursula Hegi creates a fascinating picture of immigrants in America: their dreams and disappointments, the challenges of assimilation, the frailty of language and its transcendence, the love that bonds generations and the cultural wedges that drive them irrevocably apart. With her celebrated prose and clear-eyed characterization, Hegi revisits the realm that earned her such wide readership and critical acclaim with "Stones from the River." The "Los Angeles Times" perfectly captured its rare qualities: "What a novel is supposed to be: epic, daring, magnificent, the product of a defining and mesmerizing vision." Now, with "The Vision of Emma Blau," Hegi has written her most powerful and absorbing book.

Review:

Ursula Hegi's The Vision of Emma Blau is an epic story of German immigrants attempting to assimilate while still preserving traces of home in their language and rituals. In 1894 Stefan Blau leaves Europe for America; he is only 13 years old, but he feels the need for another country so strongly that it wakes him up at night. After narrowly escaping a restaurant fire in New York City, he finds himself in New Hampshire. With money he has saved from waiter jobs and poker winnings, he buys a small hotel, which over time he transforms into a six-story, elaborate apartment house. The Wasserburg (water fortress) is a palace towering over a half-empty lake town, standing out in the landscape the same way Stefan's accent stands out in conversation--exotic, awkward, a hybrid of German and American dreams.

Hegi's writing is lively and graceful, moving across time, space, and generations without faltering or bogging down. While her scope is vast, her great gift is for particulars: Stefan's third wife, Helene, who has a deep-seated aggression in her soul that her mother attributed to her being a "biter" as a child; his daughter, Greta, who lags in school but notices things no one else does--"the reflection of the half moon that swayed on the water like a slab of frost," or the music of her flute--"long notes that sounded like the calls of large birds flying through the night." These moments of poetry open up The Vision of Emma Blau, halting its swirling world with their loveliness.

Hegi is best known for her 1994 novel, Stones from the River, which Oprah chose for her book group, catapulting this somewhat obscure writer onto the bestseller lists. But Hegi was around for a long time before Oprah shined the light on her. She is a born storyteller, a witness to the immigrant experience who is reimagining America's past from the perspective of those who desired that country as a promised land, but who even after 100 years could never quite sleep the sleep of its native sons. --Emily White

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