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The Vision of Emma Blau

The Vision of Emma Blau

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, whom readers will remember from Stones from the River, flees Burgdorf, a small town in Germany, and comes to America in search of the vision he has dreamed of every night. The novel closes nearly a century later with Stefan's granddaughter, Emma, and the legacy of his dream: the Wasserburg, 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 apart.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684872735 | 
  • January 2001
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: 1894-1909

It didn't look like the kind of house that would carry a curse. Built by a German immigrant of brick and dark timber, the Wasserburg was six stories tall with six apartments on each floor. In the small New Hampshire town that carried the name of the lake it bordered, the U-shaped building took up an entire block and stood high above the clapboard houses and the shoreline. It was the kind of structure you might expect to see in New York -- with marble bathrooms and stained-glass inserts in the tall windows -- and it was too flamboyant, the townspeople said, too conspicuous for this part of New England where... see more

About the Author

Ursula Hegi
Photo Credit: Gordon Gagliano

Ursula Hegi

Ursula Hegi is the author of The Worst Thing I've Done, Sacred Time, Hotel of the Saints, The Vision of Emma Blau, Tearing the Silence, Salt Dancers, Stones from the River, Floating in My Mother's Palm, Unearned Pleasures and Other Stories, Intrusions, and Trudi & Pia. She teaches writing at Stonybrook's Southhampton Campus and she is the recipient of more than thirty grants and awards.

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