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Homestead Paperback – 5 Feb 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo (5 Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007105797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007105793
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

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 of living in Austria for four years. You will hate for these stories to end. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'The 12 linked stories of Homestead, set in the fictional village of Rosenau, get immediately under the skin and pack as much punch as 12 novels, diving into the characters' most wrenching moments…Lippi's language is as direct and elemental as the world it describes. What is extraordinary is the way it so factually evokes the wistfulness, inner corrosion, or immense tenderness of lives that are both circumscribed and rich, mundane, but over the long haul, deep in drama…You begin to feel that you yourself are one of the people of Rosenau.' The Observer


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
A wonderful and very surprising look at a small community high in the alps and the lives of women who live there. Their day to day existance is different from mine in everyway and at the same time they have so much in common with the women I know. Much food for thought. I read this after I read the novel that won the Orange Prize (The Idea of Perfection). I preferred this novel for its depth and breadth. It is not so accessible as the other novel but it is far more rewarding in the long run.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
Having never heard or Ms Lippi I was very pleasantly suprised by her book. She weaves her characters and themes over generations and keeps you enthralled the whole way. This is a gentle story(s) told with insight into women,people and community as a whole. Once you finish the book its sheer scope in terms of the female experience leaves you slightly breathless. There are definite similarities between this book and Hannah's Daughter's by Marianne Fredriksson, although of the 2 this is the more all-encompassing. It reminded me at times of a fable and Ms Lippi certainly comes across as a gifted story-teller.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful book! It takes me back to my years spent in the Austrian alps in a small community. Rosina Lippi captures the beauty of the landscape, the hardship of the existence, the closeness of the people and, at the same time, she manages to convey the sense of claustrophobia that can come from living life in such an insular and isolated community.
The affair between one of the main characters and her lover, a deserter from the Italian army, is beautifully drawn.
A really original novel and as far removed from chic-lit as it is possible to imagine. As soon as I had finished this book I wanted to start reading it again. Truly satisfying.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 April 2002
Format: Paperback
It's like having someone softly tell you a long and interlocking tale, and all the while telling the different parts in the same calm quiet voice, without really differentiating between the tragedy and the joy. I found it completely engrossing. I did not want it to end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Sept. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Rosina Lippi's book, HOMSTEAD, is a wondeful book about the strength and endurance and beauty of generations of peasant women living on small dairy farms high in the Austrian Alps. Though this book is listed as fiction, after glancing through the table of contents with all of its names, clan charts, naming conventions, pronounciation guides, and glossary, I thought it was going to be one of those books I would have to plough through along with the women in the book. Golly, it was daunting! However, before I finished the first chapter about Anna, and the Begat Homestead, 1909, I was intriuged and was happy to be flipping back and forth between all of these guides meeting women who had personality as well as endurance . I wanted to be a part of their lives and have them be a part of mine. Lippi has done a remarkable job of bringing these women to life. She tells about the inevitable disintegration of peasant life as the world shrinks in the face of technology. By sending me back to the simple peasant life in 1909, I realize how much I miss by having all of these machines do all of my work so I can save all of that time to use these machines. I don't much want to milk cows and make my own cheese, but I would like the strength these women had to face the world. This book reminds me of John Berger's trilogy, INTO THEIR LABOURS, which chronicles the creeping death of simplicity in the rural areas of the Alps of France.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jun. 1998
Format: Hardcover
A book about strong women in a region where everyone was self sufficient. However, this book gives new meaning to "sisterhood" because the story is from an era that pre-dates the feminist movement. As the years pass and the outside world infiltrates this remote village, the women are beginning to articulate their needs, fears, pleasures and strengths. Lippi makes the reader wish for the ability to truly "go home again".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Jun. 1998
Format: Hardcover
I found this work haunting my dreams for days, its characters came so fully alive. Rosina Lippi is an extraordinarily poetic writer, creating whole scenes, people and relationships with just a sentence or two and evoking much more than she states. Whole lives are contained easily within one described scene, whole eras of pain and sustenance (especially the war)by a single episode. Part of Lippi's success is the sort of fusion she achieves between short story and novel, since each of the chapters can easily stand alone and be read separately from the others -- loosely connected and building a whole, but allowing some space within the great intimacy she creates with her characters. This is a terrific book -- read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Three generations of Austrian families, running from the First World War to the 1970s, might not immediately appeal, but it proves to be a story that has everything you could require. It is set in farming country, among what might be thought to be an uncomplicated, sometimes dour people, but provides a compelling, marvellously absorbing reading experience. The stories are told through the women of the community, centring on one small village, Rosenau and the three main homesteads within it.

I found it easy to identify with these women from a totally other time and place. The prose effortlessly pursues the grim facts, but there is deep empathy too. The difficulties faced by one woman - Johanna - in particular are handled sympathetically when she finds a fugitive from the war hiding on her farm. Other stories include the horror of a family when two of their children are classed as imbeciles and removed in a Nazi programme. Men return from war marked by mutilation both internal and external; some women are left to fend for themselves or find themselves at the mercy of old patriarchies that make themselves felt.

Rosina Lippi lived for four years in this small community and its fictionalisation has a strong grounding in fact. From the peculiarities of their naming systems to their problems with an uppity cow (of the moo variety), and from the depth of harrowing wartime experiences to the courtships and flirtations of the community, all are beautifully delineated. It doesn't read however, like a documentary script. More accurately it is a first-class novel with a very strong grounding in fact - and very enjoyable it is too.
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