Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English

By Natasha Solomon
Little, Brown, and Company
June 21, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-316-07758-3
368 pages

The best time for living in Berlin and being a Jew probably would not have been at the beginning of World War II. However, that is where Jack and Sadie Rosenblum found themselves with their young daughter, Elizabeth. The three of them along with Sadie’s immediate family asked to leave for England. The family was allowed three exit visas. It was decided that Jack, Sadie, and Elizabeth should go leaving Sadie’s parents and brother in a futile situation.
Upon arriving in London the family receives a pamphlet which attempts to give advice on how to best become English. Jack immediately discovers that the British tend to stay to themselves and do not really want Jews immigrating into their society. Jack thrusts himself into learning the language and the people. He is convinced that if he were accepted into a country club to golf, then he would be fully English. Jack also has never played golf in his life. He speaks only English, buys Savile Row suits, has an elegant vehicle, and owns his own carpet-making business. Continually, he is still trying to fit in and be a part of a country club, but not one club will accept this small Jewish man as a member.
Finally, Jack decides to take another avenue towards acceptance. Since no club will take him as a member, he’ll just build his own golf course which will entail others wanting a membership from him.
He quickly moves his wife and daughter to Dorset where they live in a “charming” house surrounded by land for the golf course. “Charming” is in the eye of the beholder as the house’s roofing leaks, there are birds in the house, no running water, and it is filthy. This is far from Sadie’s dream which was their home in London.
The characters are wonderful in MR. ROSENBLUM DREAMS IN ENGLISH. Each one has a distinct voice with their own quirky attributes that makes them flawed, but lovable. The writing is lavishing done. The pacing perfectly matches the story. MR. ROSENBLUM DREAMS IN ENGLISH is truly a gem.
Natasha Solomons based this story on her own grandparents. The affection and realism of each character is demonstrated on every page. I look forward to many more books by this author.

Teri Davis May 30, 2010

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