Mr Rosenblum's List

Thursday 15th April at 7pm

Natasha Solomons reads, signs and takes questions about her debut novel...

Mr Rosenblum's List

"Jack Rosenblum is five foot three and a half inches of sheer tenacity and through study and application he intends to become a Very English Gentleman."

Jack and his wife arrive in Britain, Jewish refugees from Germany. Jack is compiling a list: a comprehensive guide to the manners, customs and habits of England. He knows that marmalade must be bought from Fortnum & Mason, he’s memorised every British monarch back to 913 A.D. and the highlight of his day is the BBC weather forecast. And he never speaks German, apart from the occasional curse. Jack sees assimilation as the key. But the war’s been over for eight years and despite his best efforts, his bid to blend in remains fraught with unexpected hurdles. Including his wife. Sadie finds his obsession baffling. She doesn’t want to forget who they are or where they came from. She’d rather bake cakes to remember the people they left behind than worry about how to play tennis. But Jack is convinced they can find a place to call home. In a final attempt to complete his list, he leads a reluctant Sadie deep into the English countryside. Here, in a land of woolly pigs, bluebells and jitterbug cider, they embark on an impossible task…."

I read a lot of books and they have to be pretty good for me to get to the end and really good for me to expend time and effort on an author visit. I found Mr Rosenblum's List an absoulte delight. You don't need to identify with a book to appreciate it but in this case I have to admit that I recognised a little of my long-ago alien-Australian self in Mr Rosenblum's desperate attempts to blend in with "the English". On the surface this is a lovely and charming and quirky story but the real delight of Natasha's writing is her ability to reveal the deeper emotions forming her eccentric cast of characters (by the end you will even feel a litttle bit sorry for the bad guy). I also particularly liked her portrayal of Sadie's increasing bond with the natural world and her utter conviction that food is not mere sustenance but an anchor and a buffer in life.

You may have heard Natasha on Radio 4's Frontrow talking about her Great British Book Tour - her attempt to break the world record for doing more reader events than any other author! Is there such a record? Who Knows, Who Cares, she is coming to Peckham and that's what matters!!

Published by Sceptre in hardback at a very reasonable £12.99.

"Utterly charming and very funny." - Paul Torday, author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Come along - in true English fashion there will be tea and biscuits (maybe even cake....)