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Homestead by Rosina Lippi
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Homestead (1998)

by Rosina Lippi

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Homestead by Rosina Lippi - Very Good

A lovely little book set in a tiny village in the Austrian alps and concentrating on the Homesteads there: passed from generation to generation since time immemorial. It follows three particular Homesteads and their families from just before WW1 through to the mid-1970s, singling out a women from each Homestead at a particular (usually significant) point in time and telling her tale. Quite touching in places and very interesting how the rest of the world seems to pass them by - apart from when war breaks out and the women are left to keep everything going while the men are away fighting.

I did find some of the names a bit confusing at the beginning (they are named 'locally' and usually by whose child or wife or mother or which homestead they belong to... and of course, that changes with their marital status) but happily, the author included a family tree for each homestead. Shame I didn't discover the glossary until after I'd finished it, I may have found some of the Austrian words less confusing, but it didn't detract.

A lovely quick read - glad I found it at the back of the bookshelf & decided to five it a go. It could prove to be one of my favourite books this year. ( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
The story of women from an Austrian village that spans from the early 1900s to the 70s. Watching the town change through time was interesting and seeing how the peoples' lives were intertwined was equally as interesting. I don't often enjoy books where you have to keep so many people straight that you need a family tree, but the storytelling in this instance was just what I needed to become part of what I was reading. In a way, I felt as if I had visited the place and met the people.

There is much about humanity said in these pages, just as there is much about living in a small village and in a time when the sexes weren't exactly thought of as equal. There is somewhat of a surprise at the end, though I wouldn't want to give it away. I found certain aspects of the book predictable, though even then I enjoyed what I was reading. The book was a winner or nominee for several awards and I can easily see why. ( )
  mirrani | Oct 7, 2015 |
Loved this very much, though sometimes writing a little kitsch, what saves it is the underlying strength, the things that are mentioned briefly or left to you to conclude, I want to read it again, always a good sign. In short: the book covers 70 years in one isolated Austrian village during the 20th century. The first chapter takes place in 1901, the world as seen by one Anna Fink. We learn more and more each time viewing the world from a different angle as a different woman is given a voice, sometimes a very young one, sometimes an older one. Lippi is an intelligent, thoughtful writer. I look forward to more from her. ( )
  michalsuz | Aug 26, 2013 |
A little bit confusing with all the similar names - it's not clear how they are related. It would have been better if a good family tree was in the front of the book instead of in the back. ( )
  leseratte30 | Nov 24, 2012 |
There's a surprising amount of depth and meaning in this slim novel, that builds slowly and quietly through each of its 12 chapters. The story is set in a remote region of the Austrian alps, and told in the voices of women from 1909 to 1977, who managed life, love, and family on their rural homestead.

Life was hard: subsistence farming, few "modern conveniences," limited educational opportunities, and a clear but restrictive definition of a woman's role. Most women made do and were happy; some worked hard to escape. In the opening chapter, Anna, a young mother, receives a mysterious postcard which appears to be from a long lost lover. The post-mistress makes sure everyone knows about it, causing much gossip. Anna imagines the writer and his lifestyle and composes an elaborate reply, which she later abbreviated to a simple acknowledgement and apology, because his card has been misdirected. As this unfolds, the reader is also introduced to Anna's husband and children, characters who will figure prominently in later chapters.

In a rural area such as this, everyone seems to be related to everyone else. Thankfully Rosina Lippi included clan charts showing the genealogy of each homestead. While careful study of these while reading reveals small spoilers, I found them invaluable to keep track of generations and relationships.

Every one of these women was amazing, in their capacity for physical labor, and their commitment to families and to one another. Each chapter reveals details about those who came before, some of which were closely guarded family secrets. This provided the depth I mentioned before, and usually sent me off to re-read earlier chapters, taking new facts into account. When I reached the end, I felt like I had an incredibly rich tapestry in my hands, and I stood back to admire Lippi's achievement. ( )
3 vote lauralkeet | Jul 20, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
This is a novel of great depth, compassion and tenderness.
added by rosinalippi | editThe New York Times Book Review, Brigitte Frase (Sep 6, 1999)
 
In a series of interconnected vignettes spanning 1909-77, Lippi breathes life into the village of Rosenau, an isolated dairy-farming community nestled in the Austrian Alps. Each chapter focuses on a segment of different women's lives, mainly: Anna, a young wife living in a household run by her mother-in-law, who receives a postcard from an outside man and sets the whole village talking; Johanna, a spinster living with her sister's family, who falls in love with an Italian deserter in her beloved alpine meadow and lives with the secret for the next 50 years; Angelika, Johanna's sister, who measures her own worth by the quality of the cheese she makes for her husband; and Katharina, who desperately wants to ride in one of the new automobiles of the Nazi soldiers. The simple lifestyle and Lippi's eloquent descriptions bring to life a world alien to the modern one yet brimming with emotions and events of universal understanding, evoking children's author Kate Seredy's Good Master and Singing Tree. An outstanding read. Melanie Duncan
added by rosinalippi | editBooklist, Melanie Duncan (Sep 6, 1999)
 

A debut collection of 12 linked stories portraying the life of a small Austrian village and its inhabitants over the course of the 20th century. Rosenau is not the sort of place that you can expect to find on a map, let alone in many novels. A remote hamlet in the Alpine foothills of western Austria, it is ancient but not especially picturesque and would probably disappoint any tourist who happened across it. Nearly all of its people are farmers, farmers wives, and farmers children, and the few civic officials who reside there the priest, the schoolteacher, the postmistress, and so on deal with farmers all day long and become inevitably agrarian themselves. Externally uneventful, its an intensely domestic environment and most of its dramas occur within one household or another. Lippi understands and makes good use of the stories there, which occur among people who know or are related to everyone else and become marvelously cyclical and haunting. A lovers postcard addressed only to Anna Fink arrives in 1909, for example, and causes confusion because there are at least three women of that name in town. A lonely spinster working her brothers farm in 1916 gives shelter to an Italian deserter and is plagued by him after he leaves, while other women somehow have to survive the deaths or mutilations of their sons or husbands. In 1938, a Nazi medical functionary arrives in search of two retarded brothers, soon to be transferred to an institution elsewhere; the brothers are turned over to their deaths by their loving but ignorant [aunt]. Years later, the inhabitants find themselves hauntedsometimes literallyby those who died or disappeared at the front. Many of the women, unable to find a man to marry after the war, become sharp-eyed but wistful observers of the town and its lifeand narrators of its stories. Delicate and a trifle introspective, but very fine and moving. Lippi has a clear eye and a sharp tongue.
added by rosinalippi | editKirkus Reviews (Sep 6, 1999)
 
By the time you finish the first of these linked stories, you can hardly bear to have it end.
added by rosinalippi | editThe New Yorker (Sep 6, 1999)
 
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For Marlies, who shows me how to be a mother

For Elisabeth, who makes a mother of me
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"Man Proposes GOD Disposes" read the faded proclamation painted across the shingles above the Wainwright's door.r
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The setting for this poignant novel is Rosenau, an isolated Austrian Village, and the story encompasses generations of villagers and their intimate lives. The magic of the novel lies in the author's ability to make the faraway seem familiar, even when it is tragic or brutal. Structured as short stories told from the viewpoints of different members of the village, the novel follows their intertwined lives from 1909 through 1977, layering story upon story to develop the village and the characters.
Lippi's characters are nothing short of wonderful. There is, for example, Johanna, whose heart is torn between her love for Francesco--a soldier hiding in the Austrian Alps--and her sister Angelika, who hides her dependence upon Johanna behind not-so-subtle reminders of familial duty. And there is Katharina, whose impulsiveness causes her to betray her two half-brothers for a ride in a Nazi motorcar, and Stante, who proves his worth not only in the Wainwright's workshop but also by his courage withstanding the Nazis. The character portrayals are based upon Lippi's own experiences living in Austria for four years. You'll hate for these stories to end.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395977711, Paperback)

The setting for this poignant novel is Rosenau, an isolated Austrian Village, and the story encompasses generations of villagers and their intimate lives. The magic of the novel lies in the author's ability to make the faraway seem familiar, even when it is tragic or brutal. Structured as short stories told from the viewpoints of different members of the village, the novel follows their intertwined lives from 1909 through 1977, layering story upon story to develop the village and the characters.

Lippi's characters are nothing short of wonderful. There is, for example, Johanna, whose heart is torn between her love for Francesco--a soldier hiding in the Austrian Alps--and her sister Angelika, who hides her dependence upon Johanna behind not-so-subtle reminders of familial duty. And there is Katharina, whose impulsiveness causes her to betray her two half-brothers for a ride in a Nazi motorcar, and Stante, who proves his worth not only in the Wainwright's workshop but also by his courage withstanding the Nazis. The character portrayals are based upon Lippi's own experiences living in Austria for four years. You'll hate for these stories to end.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:10 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Follows the passions and fortunes of three neighboring families living in a tiny remote village in the Austrial Alps from 1909 to the late 1970s.

» see all 2 descriptions

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