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Children and fire [sound recording] : [a novel]
Hegi, Ursula.
Adult Fiction HEGI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Hegi returns in her languid latest to the fictional village of Burgdorf, Germany, from Stones from the River and The Vision of Emma Blau, focusing this time on Thekla Jansen, a teacher during the early days of the third Reich. It's 1934, and the burning of the Reichstag the year before still haunts many minds, particularly those of the boys in Thekla's fourth grade class. Convinced that Hitler cannot last forever as leader of Germany and believing the path of least resistance to be the surest way of protecting her boys from harm, Thekla accedes to the government's increasing interference in daily life, such as the banning of certain books and interrupting class time for the F hrer's radio speeches. But the encircling political danger and her own moral compromises are not her only worries, as a secret from Thekla's past may jeopardize everything she has worked to preserve. Hegi captures the passions, curiosities, and cruelties of boyhood with uncanny precision, and she smoothly injects German culture to create an authentic atmosphere, but the narrative feels too loose as it meanders across time, and its reliance on a tired family secret amounts to a finished product that doesn't live up to the dramatic potential of its historical moment. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In this latest from Hegi (Stones from the River), the story weaves between present and past, with characters linked to crucial moments in history beginning with February 27, 1934, the first anniversary of the burning of the German Reichstag (Parliament) in Berlin. While an arsonist has been named responsible, not everyone accepts the official version of the event that transformed the lives of the German people. Meanwhile, in the fictional village of Burgdorf, Germany, a young teacher strives to protect her students and herself from propaganda and fear in these early days of Hitler's regime. She cannot believe that the Nazis will last, but meanwhile, to keep the job she believes she was destined to fill, she must conform to behavior that is repugnant to her. Guiding, modeling, and lovingly supporting her young charges through tumultuous times, she endeavors to discover the depth of her own moral courage. VERDICT This novel is a lyrically written, emotionally powerful portrayal of a brilliant teacher battling the tragic effects of one man's hubris that shattered not only a town but the entire world. Most fiction readers should consider. [See Prepub Alert, 11/22/10.]-Joyce J. Townsend, Pittsburg, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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