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Friday, October 22, 2010

Review - Mr. Rosenblum dreams in English by Natasha Solomons

I had read so many reviews for this book and I did so want to get it. I was quite surprised that the library had it as i understand it was published in June of this year.

The book deals with Sadie and Jack and their baby daughter who escape Germany miraculously (being Jews) and come to England. Jack's entire mind is how to be assimilated and to be as English as possible based on a pamphlet handed out to him on arrival "how to be like the English". Sadie on the other hand retains her personality, her ideas and language and is rather disdainful of Jack who will not speak German (unless he curses when he is angry!), and seems to want to forget his origins as quickly as possible.

Jack begins business in England and is very successful in the carpet line. However his one aim in life is to own a golf course having been refused admission to any golf club he applies to based on the fact of his Jewishness. The fact that he is originally German also does not help in post war England. Not being one to be deterred easily Jack pursues his dream, mortgages his property to the hilt and buys an expanse of land only with the idea of making his golf course. In the pursuit of his dreams he is mocked, laughed at, cheated but Jack seems to be oblivious to all this whilst Sadie becomes sadder and sadder at the deterioration of their relationship and the loss of everything that is important to her. Sadie becomes very aware of her roots, does not want to lose her identity or her beliefs specially when Jack tries to become more and more of an Englishman. Sadie also lives out in the book the life she lived with her parents and grandparents and this also adds much interest to the story.

The book was interesting as it dealt with human emotions mainly - the feelings of being a stranger and alone for Sadie, for Jack his determination to integrate into the new country (based on his fear that he will be sent back otherwise) and also his determination to succeed and to bring up his daughter as true Englishwoman. His naivety for me was unbelievable and it was sad that he could be ridiculed to this extent purely on his origins but that is the way of the world unfortunately even todate.

The book is not one to be read quickly. In fact I read it in stages as I found it sometimes too sweet to handle in one go. The description of the English landscape is outstanding and it would make one want to run to England even in winter or spring - both descriptions equally gorgeous!

I liked this book and am glad I got the chance to read it.


Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This sounds so good, I do want to read it soon. Great review,

mel u said...

thanks for sharing this book with us-I admit to not having heard of it prior to your mention-

I would like you to join in a read along on Salmon Rushdie's Midnight Children-Nov 14 to Dec 14-here are the details

Marie said...

I liked this book, too, but probably not as much as you. it was an interesting read though!

Fickle Cattle said...

Sounds good. I think I'll include that in my list. :-)

Thea said...

I just had a read of some of your reviews - they're quite good and I do wish I had more time for reading novels. Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog lately too.

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews said...

What a lovely review of an interesting sounding book! Thank you for stopping by my blog so regularly! I'm following yours now too! Happy Reading, my friend!

A Bookish Space said...

A lovely review - I really want to read this!

jewelknits said...

I've read quite a few reviews of this book, but none of them made me 'feel' the book better than this one. Great review!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

Anna said...

I've had my eye on this book for awhile, so I'm glad to see you enjoyed it.

leeswammes said...

Very nice review, Mystica!

I also think it's very sad that your origins are so important to other people, even today. I think especially England has always been a bit weary of foreigners (I've lived there, so I know!).

Do you think Jack was indeed an Englishman in the end? I would say he was a Dorset man, really. And that is the best type of Englishman, as they said! :-)

Blodeuedd said...

Where have I heard about this one?..somewhere.
But after this review I do want to pick it up

S. Krishna said...

This is one I want to read. Thanks for the review!