If you knew that you would experience significant love just once in your life, would you want these years at the beginning, or at the end This is the luminous epic of a bicultural family filled with passion and aspirations, tragedy and redemption.
The Vision of Emma Blau If you knew that you would experience significant love just once in your life would you want these years at the beginning or at the end This is the luminous epic of a bicultural family filled with p
Ursula Hegi is magnificent! The way she captures the emotions and inner motivations that lead to the consequences and reactions of the characters is so realistic it transforms the reader. We learn about each character through their own narrative, in their own time, as this story spans generations of a German-American family from 1909 until very nearly the present. I was most taken with the amazing transition from descriptive narrative and dialogue into the unspoken thoughts of the character, rev [...]
I was really taken by this book. The Wasserburg apartment building is the central character, very clever device, I think. Within it many characters are drawn in clever ways. I especially liked the depiction of how Germans in America felt during the wars, as all my relatives must have gone through some of the same feelings. Suspected for being "one of them." I also liked the description of the bond between Emma and her grandfather. Although it became obsessive, it was a deep link that we all feel [...]
Stefan Blau runs away from his home in Germany when he is a young man. He's always dreamed of living in America. He eventually finds himself in New Hampshire, building a beautiful apartment building, running a restaurant, and doing his best to provide for his family.Honestly, this book might have suffered from too many interruptions. My review is definitely suffering from allowing too much time to go by between finishing the book and reviewing it.I mostly enjoyed this, my problem was that I felt [...]
I used to love multi-generational family sagas, and I still occasionally pick one up. This book traced the history of a German-American family from grandfather Stefan's arrival in America in 1894 - alone at age 13 - through his granddaughter Emma's desperate determination to maintain the his grand, aging apartment building in the 1980s. The building has a lot of symbolism in the story. There's always a shadow hanging over it. Stefan never paid back the loan his in-laws made to him to build it. I [...]
Ohhhe dregs of reading this book.At first I thought I lost my "zest" for reading when in reality I lost my appetite for reading this book. Many times over I would have to glance at the cover to re-read the author's name - not sure if Ursula Hegi was a woman. She has a very masculine prespective.Well, let's see, The Vision of Emma Blau isn't entirely about Miss Emma but rather her lineage. Her Grandpa, Stefen Blau, ran away from Germany to America at a ripe, young age and stared a new life, event [...]
This was definitely worth reading, though not as engrossing as Stones from the River. Hegi is a wonderful storyteller; her writing is rich and emotional.This is a multi-generational saga. German immigrant, Stefan Blau, builds an upscale (for its day) apartment building on the shores of a New Hampshire lake. The Wasserburg building becomes a central character, its relevance to the family and the community is transformed through the generations. The relationship of some of the family with the buil [...]
Ursula Hegi's three generation family saga starts brilliantly and ends well, but in the middle, it becomes cumbersome and tiring. In movie trilogies, the second episode often seems like it is only there to connect the first and the third. I felt the same way about the middle generation in this story of the family started by a German immigrant at the turn of the 20th century. Like the apartment block he envisions, builds, protects and loves, his family also begins to develop fractures and cracks [...]
It almost seemed like the author was trying to put in every conceivable family issue or events in the book except for incest. Such as the gay stepbrother who is bitter at his father all his life over a cruel childhood punishment to the granddaughter and her illegitimate child who likes his father's family better. LOL. But it was well written and because it was a generational book it never got boring. I got really engaged and frustrated right along with Emma when she had to keep defending herself [...]
Stefan, capostipite dei Blau sul suolo americano, ha avuto la visione del suo futuro proiettato in una dimensione onirica nella quale una bimbetta gioca volteggiando in un cortile sulle sponde di un lago. Là, ha deciso, costruirà la sua immensa Wasserburg a sei piani.L'andamento parabolico nel susseguirsi generazionale è fattore comune di molte saghe familiari: un personaggio scelto per iniziare a dar voce alla "casata"; poi la fase ascendente, in un crescendo di voci e intrecci, fino al culm [...]
Great beginning to this multi-generational story. Blah, blah, blah weak begets and uninteresting characters. Too much nothing in middle do they pad a story to sell a thicker book? Poor Stefen, the first and the last. I guess Emma's vision was lost on me.
I feel like I've been giving too many 4 star ratings lately. If I could have given 3 1/2 I would have. Take that as you will.I'm a giant sucker for epic, multigenerational family stories, so in that vein, this was perfect. But I felt that some eras were much better fleshed out than others; for instance, I never really got to know Emma, despite her being the title character, Yvonne was a bit 2-dimensional, and I felt that Greta's personality read a little flat; more could have been done with her [...]
I tend to love character driven stories like The Vision of Emma Blau that span multiple generations. Combined with Ursula Hegi's terrific writing and insights, this made for a great read. The Vision of Emma Blau is a spinoff of Stones from the River, detailing the parallel story that starts with Stephen Blau running away from Bergdorf to find his way in America. He finally settles in New Hampshire and the story follows his family for several generations. I knocked a star only because I liked Sto [...]
Ursula Hegi, author of Stones From The River which I read a few years ago and thought then of what an imagination to write a story of a dwarf girl living in a small village in Germany. Now to take some of those same characters and bring them to America at the turn of the century and to live the experiences of being a German immigrant especially as they were looked down upon during both WWI and WWII. Hegi is a detailed writer, thoughtful and entertaining.
While decades and centuries pass, needs, desires, aspirations, and failings remain the same. While the similarities are recognizable, human knowledge based on scientific research has advanced our ability to "perhaps" face failings and fragility in ourself and others realistically and with compassion.
Immigrants comming to America from Germany. They had hope, visions of success and keeping the family close. This book expounds on every facet of their lives and the lives of the three generations that lived together in one house. It was a beautifully written story.
Loved Stones from the River - this one didn't capture me as much. I remain interested in the experiences of everyday German citizens before , during and after WWII, so will read more of her books.
Review published: chronicbibliophilia.wordpress“Had he known how the Wasserburg would seduce and corrupt him and his family, Stefan Blau would have taken the train back to New York that day, but to detect rot is often impossible in its early stages: it starts beneath lush surfaces, spreading its sweet-nasty pulp, tainting memories and convictions. It entangles. Justifies. But what Stefan saw that summer afternoon was only the splendor of the Wasserburg as it would be the day he would finish it [...]
This book takes us to America, New Hampshire to be exact, where Stefan Blau ended up when he ran away from his home in Burgdorf, Germany when he was thirteen in 1894. He had big dreams, and made them reality when he built The Wasserburg, an apartment building, and also owned a successful restaurant. Elizabeth Flynn, his first wife, had a daughter, Greta. When Elizabeth died, Stefan married Sara Penn. She had Agnes, who died, and Tobias. Sara died, and Stefan went back to his home town where he a [...]
An epic of an immigrant family. While financially and professionally comfortable, various characters along the way manifest their inner pain in a variety of ways. The author explores the effects of memories, culture, superstition, and language on relationships. At times it was a bit over the top in suffering, but all in all a good read. I thin.k it is particularly important to try to vicariously experience the immigrant experience in today's less than tolerant environment. I recommend it to anyo [...]
I really enjoyed this book, a story of an immigrant who first comes to New York and then moves to New Hampshire and starts a family. This is a multi-generation saga. If you a looking for a book with a lot of happiness, this is not it. However, a fast moving plot and great characters make it very readable.
While I loved Stones from the River, and this novel is based on two of the original Burgdorf characters, Helene Montag and Stefan Blau, you must almost finish this book before it holds together.Too many narrators and their points of view made it hard for me to care too much about any of them.
This book by Hegi was not nearly as believable as the last one. The hotel seems too opulent and large for the NH town. Many other details were hard to accept.
Liked Stones from the River better.
To see my review, go hereepaintsred/2018/02/16/t
Would probably be a 4 for others. I loved the German nursery rhymes, references to Oma and Opa, etc. that reminded me of my grandparents, etc.
This was a beautifully written story, but unfortunately, I found it slow and ended up skimming large parts of it. It is one of those stories that would have been better off written as a short story.
Not as good as Stones from the River, but satisfying
Ursula Hegi is a truly gifted writer with a magical ability to bring a story to life vividly. STONES FROM THE RIVER, my first literary encounter with Ms. Hegi's work, was one of my favorite books so naturally I was looking forward to reading THE VISION OF EMMA BLAU, which is a spin-off of the previously mentioned novel. Stefan Blau was the son of 2 of the villagers in Trudi Montag's hometown in Germany who ran away to America when he was 13 years old - this is the story of his American legacy.Th [...]
A great family saga covering nearly 100 years of the Blau family’s history in America. Early in the twentieth century, Stefan Blau comes to America, and dreams of building a fine apartment building. Long before the building is ever built, he has a vision in which he sees a little girl playing in front of the building. Years pass. He marries an American blonde beauty. Her parents are able to lend him the money to start building the apartment building. They have a daughter, but the young wife di [...]
Beautiful, descriptive writing, but ultimately disappointing. SO MUCH FORESHADOWING had me waiting on the edge of my seat for the calamity that was going to befall this unfortunate family. It would have to do with the house, obviously, but not a fire since Stefan had built it so securely against fire. Collapse? The heaviness of the fire-proofing seemed to foreshadow a tragedy related to its weight. Tornado, maybe? Multi-generational lead poisoning? Nope. Family strife. And it barely even takes p [...]