Picks and Pans Review: The Vision of Emma Blau

updated 03/06/2000 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/06/2000 01:00AM

by Ursula Hegi

Hegi's critically acclaimed Stones from the River—a 1997 Oprah's Book Club selection—retold modern German history through the eyes of a dwarf. Now we have an account of the same era in America told by immigrant Stefan Blau, who arrives in New York City in 1894, builds a business in New Hampshire and over the decades suffers the loss of all he had struggled so fiercely to create. Sounds grim, but it actually makes for a fascinating read. In the end, though, earning and wasting money in America isn't as dramatic as upheaval and war in Germany. (Simon & Schuster, $25)

Bottom Line: Solid novel, but less compelling than Stones

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