Mr Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons

Mr Rosenblum's List by Natasha Solomons

Mr Rosenblum's List

Mr Rosenblum’s List (2010) is also known as Mr Rosenblum Dreams in English (American edition). Both titles don’t cover the content, but List is the more appropriate title for sure.

Mr Rosenblum’s List: what it’s about?

Mr Rosenblum, Jack, and his wife Sadie, are German Jews who move to England just before the Second World War. They are given a sheet with Helpful Information and Guidance for Every Refugee.

Mr Rosenblum wants to fit in with the English. He does not want to be perceived as a Jew or a German, he wants to be an Englishman. He follows the sheet (list) with information to the letter and adds new points that he finds to be important, such as buying one’s marmalade from Fortnum & Mason and being a member of a golf course.

The latter point is a difficult one. Jack Rosenblum is not accepted in any golf course around London, where he lives. While his non-Jewish friends have no problems joining, Jack is being told that there is a waiting list every time.

Having made a lot of money with his carpet factory, he then buys a cottage in Dorset with enough land attached to start his own golf course. The rest of the book is about Jack preparing the land for a golf course, and his struggles to get it officially opened.

Mr Rosenblum’s List: what I thought

I find it hard to say exactly what I thought of the book. I loved the last part of the book, it was humorous, positive things happened (as well as some less positive ones), it was heart-warming. However, the beginning was just so-so. I never really liked Mr Rosenblum and his wife very much. He tried very hard to be English but only worked towards what he perceived as being English. He never checked with anyone English if he was doing things right.

I also didn’t like how he didn’t keep up with his factory much and with the hard-working people there. Being very self-centered he focused only on his golf course.

But I liked the description of Dorset and its people. The countryside. The very believable daughter who was essentially an Englishwoman with foreign parents. While still young, she didn’t want to have too much to do with them, because they were embarrassing.

The story as such was well thought out although sometimes a little unlikely. It felt like a fairy tale some of the time. I guess my (small) problem was not with the way the story was told but with some of the elements, such as Jack himself, who I didn’t find very likable, but I also didn’t like it when he was being discriminated against, etc.

I could imagine non-English people enjoying this book a lot if only because of the typically English atmosphere and the quite funny Dorset natives.

Rating: 4/5

I got this book: for our book club meeting this Friday. I had heard of the book beforehand and wanted to read it anyway.

I read this in: the original language, English.

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About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

10 Responses to Mr Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons

  1. Hmm, do you think an English person would enjoy this book or would it grate on my nerves because of the English stereotypes etc?

    I’m curious but not sure I’ll be picking it up anytime soon.

    • leeswammes says:

      I think English people would enjoy it too, Boof, but it’s just not quite as special for them. The stereotypes in the book are actually Dorset farmers and I think most English (except the Dorset farmers) would enjoy a laugh about them too. Oops! What am I saying? 🙂

  2. Mystica says:

    I read and reviewed it just the week ago. It is a strange book but I think the author was also trying to deal with human issues and emotions here.

    • leeswammes says:

      Yes, I agree, Mystica. Only I didn’t feel much interest for the Rosenblums so it was a bit difficult to feel their emotions. I’ll check out your review!

  3. I also prefer your edition’s title to the American one. It seems more appropriate. Being Canadian, I guess I wouldn’t have any qualms about the stereotypes 😀 This sounds like a great companion to the movie Gentleman’s Agreement, only in reverse.

  4. This is another book that I own the hardcover for AND have an audio copy! I am so far behind with reading the books that I receive that if I can get an audio copy from the library… this is how I read them. HA!

    At first I didn’t think you liked it all that much but giving it 4/5 I think I might put this on my ipod for my travels next week.

    • leeswammes says:

      Mari, I think it’s ideal for your iPod. It’s quite easy to understand, so you don’t need to dwell on it (i.e., think about it or reread).

      Such a pity, though, that you have so little time to sit down and read an actual book! 🙂

  5. Pingback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? « Leeswammes' Blog

  6. Pingback: Winactie: De lijst van meneer Rosenblum van Natasha Solomons « De Boekblogger

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