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The Bohemian Flats: A Novel
     

The Bohemian Flats: A Novel

4.8 4
by Mary Relindes Ellis
 

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In The Bohemian Flats, Mary Relindes Ellis’s rich, imaginative gift carries us from the bourgeois world of fin de siècle Germany to a vibrant immigrant enclave in the heart of the Midwest and to the killing fields of World War I.

Shell shock, as it was called, lands Raimund Kaufmann in a London hospital, a victim of the war but also of his own

Overview

In The Bohemian Flats, Mary Relindes Ellis’s rich, imaginative gift carries us from the bourgeois world of fin de siècle Germany to a vibrant immigrant enclave in the heart of the Midwest and to the killing fields of World War I.

Shell shock, as it was called, lands Raimund Kaufmann in a London hospital, a victim of the war but also of his own, and his brother’s, efforts to get out of Germany and build a new life in America. While his recovery eludes him, his memory returns us to Minneapolis, to the Flats, a milling community on the Mississippi River, where Raimund and his brother Albert have sought respite from the oppressive hand of their older brother, now the master of the family farm and brewery. In Minnesota the brothers confront different forms of prejudice, but they also find a chance to remake their lives according to their own principles and wishes—until the war makes their German roots inescapable.

Following these lives, The Bohemian Flats conjures both the sweep of irresistible history and the intimate reality of a man, and a family, caught up in it. From a nineteenth-century German farm to the thriving, wildly diverse immigrant village below Minneapolis on the Mississippi to the European front in World War I, and returning to twentieth-century America—this is a story that takes a reader to the far reaches of human experience and the depths of the human heart.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 "The Bohemian Flats, bristling with historical detail, is a story about family members immigrating into the United States from Europe and settling in a unique district in Minneapolis."
—David Rhodes, author of Driftless and Jewelweed

"Ellis is a magician with historical details. From the walks Raimund takes through Minneapolis neighborhoods, to the sort of food he eats and the sort of beer his Bohemian neighbors brew, the authenticity of his life comes fairly bounding off the page." —Star Tribune


"The Bohemian Flats is one of those rare books that a reader can open at random to find intriguing dialogue and insights. By the time you finish... you will feel you know the Kaufmann family and perhaps have a better understanding of what World War I did to Germans who stayed behind and those who forged new lives in America." —Pioneer Press

"The Bohemian Flats is fascinating for what it tells us about the past, about the pain and pleasure of leaving one home for another, and how world events, family secrets, and entrenched prejudice can follow us from country to country—and era to era." —Minnesota Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816692200
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
05/02/2014
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
174,786
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Mary Relindes Ellis is the author of the novel The Turtle Warrior. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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The Bohemian Flats: A Novel 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was very interesting and informative about the culture and mindset of the people during that period. I know that this book if fictional but all the same, I'm sure that parts of it were real. Being from St. Paul, I knew the location of quite a bit of the book. I was surprised to learn about the predjustices of the people towards other immigrants. All in all, well worth the time to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Star_Prairie_reader More than 1 year ago
I read this book because it covers the history of the German immigrants to Minnesota in a fictional format. As I was born in St Paul, and my ancestors were German immigrants, I wanted to learn more. The book is well written and brings the reader to the center of the action from the late 1800s into the 1960. As I read I recognized many of the places in the Twin Cities. One work of caution is the sexual nature might not be suitable for younger readers. Well worth the time spent in reading as the book moves quickly. I read it in 2 days.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago