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Mr. Rosenblum's List: Or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman [Paperback]

Natasha Solomons
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

8 July 2010

List item 2: Never speak German on the upper decks of London buses.

Jack Rosenblum is five foot three and a half inches of sheer tenacity. He's writing a list so he can become a Very English Gentleman.

List item 41: An Englishman buys his marmalade from Fortnum and Mason.

It's 1952, and despite his best efforts, his bid to blend in is fraught with unexpected hurdles - including his wife. Sadie doesn't want to forget where they came from or the family they've lost. And she shows no interest in getting a purple rinse.

List item 112: An Englishman keeps his head in a crisis, even when he's risking everything.

Jack leads a reluctant Sadie deep into the English countryside in pursuit of a dream. Here, in a land of woolly pigs, bluebells and jitterbug cider, they embark on an impossible task...


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; Reprint edition (8 July 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0340995661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340995662
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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, and they are currently working on the adaptation of MR ROSENBLUM`S LIST. She is also researching a PhD in eighteenth-century poetry. She lives in Dorset.

Product Description

Review

Prepare to be seriously charmed. (The Times)

'The descriptions of England - as friend, adversary and eventually homne - are exquisite. Jack Rosenblum, a foolish, deeply sympathetic protagonist, is exasperating and admirable in equal measure. A touching, surprising and satisfying read.' (Sadie Jones, author of The Outcast)

'Utterly charming and very funny' (Paul Torday, author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)

'In her charming debut, Natasha Solomons folds together Jewish baking, golf and Dorset folklore to create a singular comic confection... Solomons crafts a fine pastoral comedy from Jack's eccentric endeavours to reshape the land and from his encounters with rustic labourers who seem to have absconded from the pages of a Hardy novel... Sadie provides a touching counterpoint to the comedy... Much of the delight in this novel stems from Solomons' feeling for types of traditional knowledge that are on the verge of obsolescence.' (Telegraph)

The light yet poignant tone makes for an unusual, richly comic novel...a treat of a book. (Guardian)

An affectionate portrait of a spirited man trying to find a little corner of the world where he can truly belong...[Solomons] successfully treads the fine line between comedy and the precarious plight of refugees in an entertaining tale that has resonances in contemporary Britain. (Herald)

'a subtle and moving examination of the dilemma faced by immigrants to modern Britain'. (Observer)

'a tender exploration of the nature of home'. (Marie Claire)

written with and skill, humour and sympathy (The Lady)

[Solomons] has an exceptional feel for the Dorset countryside. (Country Life)

A delightful tale of one man's determination to fulfil his dream. (Stylist)

delightful debut...Solomon's narrative has shades of both P.G. Wodehouse and Isabel Allende...There are also echoes of Jez Butterworth's play Jerusalem in this whimsical novel's deep seam of inquiry into the nature of Englishness. (TLS)

almost irritatingly impressive...she strikes the perfect note with simple, evocative metaphors. I was forced to accept that this was a rare treat; a debut novel that is pretty much flawless... (The Times)

Sprinkled with a hint of magic, this debut is a delight. (Daily Mail)

Book Description

A charming novel about an irrepressible man, his long-suffering wife and a Very English dream.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and touching 28 July 2011
Format:Audio Cassette
I loved Natasha Solomons' 'Novel in the Viola' - one of the best books I've read for years - and was surprised that this is completely different in tone and direction. It's the unusual, subtly clever story of Jack and Sadie, Jews who move to England from Germany and try VERY hard (or at least, Jack does) to fit in in rural Dorset.
Jack's obsession with 'fitting in' leads him to another compulsion, which drives the novel along - his all-consuming desire to build his own golf course, as he can't get admission into any all-English ones.
Jack's oft-thwarted journey to the final hole is both funny and heart-breaking. I have to say, I have never wanted a character to succeed so badly. I haven't read many novels recently where the main character was a man who isn't typically heroic and doesn't solve exciting crimes, so Jack was a bretah of fresh air. Sadie's loneliness and isolation contrasted perfectly with his never-say-die, optimistic attitude and their middle-aged love story is really sweet (and another breath of fresh air - I'm sick of good-looking professionals in their 20s who pervade everything in book-form at the moment).
You don't have to love golf to enjoy this weird and wonderful novel. You don't have to be Jewish. And you don't have to be typically English. But if you are fed up with the same-old crime, romance and daddy-beat-me-up-when-I-was-little novels, give this a try.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seriously delightful book 20 May 2013
By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I thought this an excellent, immensely enjoyable book. It wasn't quite what I expected: from the publisher's description I thought it would be a gentle comedy of the conflict between the manners of the English middle-class in the 1950s and those of German Jewish refugees - something like George Mikes's How To be An Alien in the form of a novel. Well, there is some of that, certainly, but there is far more depth and subtle observation in the book, too.

Natasha Solomons writes in a straightforward, gentle way. The prose is a pleasure throughout and she writes of what she knows: of the place where she grew up and now lives, and of the heritage of her family. All of this makes the book an easy and very enjoyable read; she captures beautifully the Dorset countryside, the turn of the seasons and the people of that part of England. However, within this almost cosy setting and structure, this book has a great deal to say about some very important things - among them the meaning of belonging; the effect of evil forces destroying a person's family and most of what gives them the sense of who they are; the pain of exile and people's responses to it and - not least - the meaning of being English. Solomons also catches, with a lovely lightness of touch, much of the experience of exile - the tiny reminders of the past, the importance of food, the significance of names, the never quite feeling secure, and so on.

Jack and Sadie, refugees from the Nazis, respond quite differently to their situation. Jack, by means of the eponymous list, is determined to forget all about the past, to be relentlessly cheerful and to make himself into what he believes to be an Englishman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like it but... 19 April 2012
Format:Paperback
I really wanted to like this, but it is one of only a few books that I haven't managed to finish. I got about a quarter of the way through, wasn't really enjoying it, but soldiered on. By the halfway mark still NOTHING was happening so I gave up. The whole story of building the golf course was so tedious, and ultimately I didn't care enough about the main character to stick it out to find out if he succeeded or not. His wife had the potential to be much more interesting but was woefully under used in the novel.
From a technical point of view, the author also broke the rules of point of view - how within any scene could we know what was going on in all of the characters heads? This grated enough to be the final nail in the coffin for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rural Dorset 13 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book as the location, set in rural Dorset, interested me. The main character was difficult to imagine in that setting but the story got better at the end.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 9 May 2014
Format:Paperback
Enjoyable funny and moving story. Loved Mr.Rose in blooms friends most of all. Especially the cider drinker with the tales
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another review of Mr Rosenblum's list 4 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've already reviewed this book when I last bought it. I bought this copy for my mother because I absolutely loved it and have lent my own copy out several times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful! 31 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book so much that I have given three copies of it as birthday presents. Beautifully and sensitively written, a great storyline that binds together several unlikely plot threads into a magnificent whole. This should be one of those books that EVERYBODY has read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Feel good story with real heart 27 Dec 2013
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
A lovely, warm-hearted feel-good story about a middle-aged Jewish couple who settle in England after fleeing Nazi Germany. Jack Rosenblum is an energetic optimistic whose irrepressible spirit sees him become a successful businessman from nothing, and who is desperate to assimilate into his adopted land and become a 'proper Englishman'. His wife, Sadie, is quieter and sadder, finding it hard to leave behind her roots and mourning the deaths of family and friends who were unable to escape. When Jack is denied entry to a golf club because of his religion, he decides to build his own course and moves to the Dorset countryside to do so. What follows is the classic tale of a single, likeable character struggling against enormous odds on an eccentric, seemingly impossible task, and gradually earning the admiration of the sceptics around him.

Like all effective stories of this kind, there is a good amount of pathos underlying the narrative. It is by no means a saccharine or implausibly happy story. There are some very sad and moving moments and storylines here, and it balances out nicely. At first, I found Jack Rosenblum a rather implausible character, and I was irritated by his naivety which I felt was overdone. But by halfway through he had won me over as effectively as he did his rural neighbours. What at first seemed like foolishness, gradually showed itself to be the same willingness to take risks and determination to follow dreams that had allowed him to succeed as an entrepreneur. In the modern day, he would doubtlessly be appearing on 'Dragon's Den' with some sort of crazy invention that everyone would laugh at until they heard how much money it made.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I Recognise the Rosenblums.
I recognise many of the people portrayed and am familiar with most of the situations so that I did believe the story. Read more
Published 7 months ago by P A Schwartzman
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny
A great book with fun in extraordinary places. Really worth a read for a good laugh with some serios pieces
Published 8 months ago by Carol Habrovitsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
This as recommended to me by a friend, I bought it for my Kindle ages ago but only just picked it up.... This book is all about the good things in life, Dorset Wooly Pigs & all! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Joanne
4.0 out of 5 stars Advice Taken
A pretty good book, very enjoyable but the list for the aspiring Englishman (as a list) wasn't there as I expected. That said I really did enjoy this book
Published 11 months ago by CollD
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreaming of Becoming an Englishman
Natasha Solomons's debut novel is the story of a refugee from Hitler's Germany who settles in England with one desire - to become a true Englishman. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Kate Hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
this is lovely.
coming from a jewish influenced house and family, i related to a lot of this. it makes one understand what these people, who either landed away from their... Read more
Published 12 months ago by stephane a. constantin
2.0 out of 5 stars Overladen with charm and whimsy
The book seems to vary between one story (the Rosenblums' attempts to fit into English life) and another (Mr Rosenblum builds a golf course). Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jonathan Bryce
2.0 out of 5 stars Too whimsical for my taste
However, it was recommended to me my a friend whose opinions I respect who really loves it. Just not for me.
Published 13 months ago by JK
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