Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review: Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English

Oh my, what a beautiful book. Lovely would work too. It sounds more English.

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English: A Novelby Natasha Solomons is a novel about Jack and Sadie Rosenblum, two Jewish Germans who immigrated to England before World War II. Because they left, they were both spared - but Sadie's family was not. Her sadness is a character in the book, it is that strong, and she fights to remember that family and her way of life before she was forced to leave.

Jack, though, doesn't try to remember. When the couple immigrated to England, he was given a pamphlet on how to be English. Not only does he follow every suggestion to the letter, but he adds onto the list as he sets up a business and becomes successful. One thing that he can't cross off the list? Being a member of a golf club. He's rejected from every one because he's Jewish.

What's Jack to do? Build his own course, of course. The book starts in London, but centers on Jack and Sadie moving to Dorset as he chases his golf course dreams - even though he's never played a round - and Sadie spars with her sadness and alienation.

It's a slow book and meant to be savored, which is why I took so long to finish. The descriptions of the country - oh, they left me yearning for spring and flung me back to my first bus ride through England from Heathrow Airport to Oxford, where I studied for a semester. The countryside stunned me out of my jet lag it was so beautiful. This book captures that perfectly, and I have to admit that I was a little stunned the author's only 29 years old. It seems like a book written by someone older and made wise by age (though the jacket copy says that the book is based on her grandparents).

The book comes out on June 21. Put it on your list. It's wonderful.

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