Monday, August 8, 2011

Mr Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons




  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Publisher: Sceptre an imprint of Hodder and Stoughton 2010
  • Source: Gift from a friend to my husband.
  • Review Quote: ‘Utterly charming and very funny’ Paul Torday. Having just recently reviewed one of his books, seeing this quote on the cover piqued my interest.
  • My Opinion:  I agree it is charming and very funny but personally I also found it sad.


    My husband was given this copy as a Birthday present this time last year, he read it straight away pronouncing it brilliant and that I should definitely be reading it. I usually avoid books for at least awhile if they have a lot of hype surrounding them and this one seemed to pop up everywhere. According to its front cover the film was already on the way by the time the paperback was published!  I would of course like to see the film at some stage so thought it was about time I read the book, as I always do so if possible.   Seeing the film first absolutely ruins a book for me, as there is no point in using my visual imagination while reading. A charming and funny story but I also found it sad.

    At the heart of this novel is a little, literally as only 5ft 3”, German immigrant Jack Rosenblum. Arriving in England in 1937 along with his wife Sadie and one year old daughter Elizabeth, wanting to blend in and become a member of the English middle classes. With the help of the pamphlet the refugees were presented with on arrival he intends to study and use all the information listed to become a perfect English Gentleman. He realises that this leaflet just skims the surface when it comes to fitting in so he starts to add his own addendums the most important of which he feels is that ‘An Englishman must be a member of a Golf Club’. Poor Jack despite his careful copying of everything British there is no Golf Club to be found that will accept  his membership. The rest of the novel is taken up with his attempts to build his own golf course in the heart of the Dorset countryside and shows how by doing so he succeeds in alienating himself from both the locals and his roots. His wife Sadie is confused by his attitude as she does not want to forget the family and country they left behind.

    I felt this novel provided not just a picture of the problems of one set of immigrants to Great Britain before the Second World War but a description  of the dilemmas facing all immigrants even nowadays.

    As the actual original leaflet states ‘Be loyal to England your host’ 


    Natasha SolomonsNatasha Solomons

    Natasha Solomons was born in 1980. Her first job, aged nine, was as a shepherdess, minding the flock on Bulbarrow hill. Since then, she has worked as a screenwriter with her husband, she is also researching a PhD in eighteenth-century poetry. She lives in Dorset.


    Books in focus: Natasha Solomons discusses her book Mr Rosenblum's List – No spoiler.

    Uploaded by Jnews2008 on May 24, 2010

    Author Alan Gold interviews British Jewish author Natasha Solomons on her first novel, Mr Rosenblum's list

    Information, photo and video used in this post is with thanks to the following websites.

    Mr Rosenblum's List on The Author's Official Website

    Natasha Solomons Official Website

    Facebook - Natasha Solomons 

    YouTube  and  Hodder Author Profile

    Her latest novel The Novel in the Viola was published in May 2011 and I have already added it to my Wishlist.


    1. I'm half way through this book at the moment so I'm really interested in what you have said. I found the introductory chapters inspiring but it's taking me a bit longer to get through the rest. I will persevere though!

      Thanks for finding the youtube clip too!

      How funny that you should post this as I am in the middle of reading it...

      Best wishes and happy week,

    2. Linda, this looks fantastic. I had not heard of it before your post, and I can't imagine why. I am going to see if I can find out more information from Indie List.

      Thanks for a great review, and I enjoyed the interview, too.

      Ricki Jill

    3. I did have this on loan from the library last year, but did not have time to read it.

      I may go back to it.

      thanks for the review


    4. Natasha@ What a coincidence, I hope you will persevere as I imagine you are maybe just a bit bogged down in all the golf scenes.

      Ricki Jill@ Glad you enjoyed it and I hope you track down a copy.

      Dizzy C@ I hope this review has maybe inspired you to pick it up again.

    5. Hi Linda! Thank you for the suggestion. It sounds good and I planning on goin to the library this evening. Dianna (Sunny109..porchsittintimefor

    6. Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa. Richard from Amish Stories.

    7. It sounds like an interesting read, and as an immigrant myself, I'm sure I'd enjoy it.

    8. We're the same - I'd like to read the book first before watching the film. I lose all enthusiasm to read the book once I've seen the film.

      This book sounds like an interesting read! :)

    9. Brenna@ I think it might appeal to you

      Sunny109@ Welcome thanks for calling by and taking the time to comment. I hope you manage to locate a copy.

      Amish Stories@ Thankyou for calling by and comment, hope to see you here again.

      Talli@ Oh yes I think so, it is very funny, despite the sadness.

      Len@ Absolutely I like to do the visualisation myself and seeing the film first spoils that opportunity.

    10. Interesting review. I agree but found it really too sad to be called comedy.

    11. Susie@ Thanks for your comments,it almost seems a little disrespectful to admit to having laughed at it as it certainly was sad.


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