Monday, July 11, 2011
MR. ROSENBLUM DREAMS IN ENGLISH by Natasha Solomons
Captivating. Whimsical. Funny. Poignant. Utterly Charming. Delightful.
How could you not want to read a book that has been depicted by these words? It’s the story of a small Jewish family coming to England pre-WWII and the methods of coping with the past and tackling the future that each member devises. The father, a businessman, ultimately decides to design and build a golf course, hoping to interest American golfer Bobby Jones in his quest. The mother, the keeper of the past, brings that past into her life by baking all kinds of German desserts. The only child, a daughter who was a baby when she came to England, draws away from the family as she goes off to Cambridge and changes her surname from Rosenblum to Rose.
The rural community where the Rosenblums finally settle make it hard on the new immigrants, but ultimately a few good-hearted people intercede and the golf course is started. And the fun begins.
A few reviews have noted that it is a slow paced book. It is, but that doesn’t stop the surprises, the hilarity and the magic. There is a shock at the ending that will put a smile on your face, and a poignancy that will put a tear in your eye (and that maybe will join others rolling down your cheek.) The author herself had grandparents who came to England in this manner and it is their life that is the foundation for this wonderful tale, or fable, or whatever genre you want to put it in. Do not let the pace of the book stop you from soldiering on. At some point you’ll be gripped by Mr. Rosenblum’s adventure and you won’t be able to put the book down.