- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (7 April 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0349117462
- ISBN-13: 978-0349117461
- Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 2.8 x 13.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Secret Purposes Paperback – 7 Apr 2005
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An intriguing novel about history and truth . . . The intelligence and inquiry of this book will surprise many (THE TIMES)
Wonderful . . . brilliantly realised (INDEPENDENT)
It is a sombre, clever book, but, being Baddiel, is irradiated by flashes of dark humour (Sally Vickers, SPECTATOR)
David Baddiel's excellent new novel . . . Sensitive, intelligent and deeply moving, THE SECRET PURPOSES is both a gripping read and a long overdue indictment of Britain's treatment of Jewish refugees (IMAGE)
Brilliantly accomplished and critically acclaimed novel of Nazi Germany and the plight of internees in wartime Britain by writer and comedian David Baddiel.See all Product description
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As Baddiel admits in an afterword in the book, the novel is a mixture of historical fact and fiction, which can make things a little disorienting at times for the reader, e.g. such matters as a reference to a battle in the 1914-1918 War in Arnhem in the Netherlands! Notwithstanding this, the general historical context is good and essentially credible. The narrative pace is sound and the literary quality has a pleasing depth. As might be expected with the author, there are also moments of pure comedy. In short, an excellent novel.
The story is almost too believable, the frailties of the husband and wife are beautifully explained, the complexities of their relationships, and the powerful mixture of emotions of the husband- and wife, when he is interred on the Isle of Man wonderfully well written.
Like many other people I was surprised to see who the author was, and very impressed by his literary ability. The book was both beautifully written, and strangely compelling.
Baddiel also very cleverly uses a very small cast of characters to say big things about cultural identity and how that impacts on political decisions. I'm from the Isle of Man and I was extremely impressed with the way that he uses a single Manx character to sum up, accurately in my experience, the attitude that the Manx had (and still have) to outsiders. There's also a great twist towards the end of the book that really stays with you and which has relevance way beyond the time in history that it is set in. I won't spoil the book and say what it is!
Saying all that, this book's not "high literature" and I mean that as a positive comment: it's a really good read, pure and simple. I doubt that anyone's going to be studying it for English A Level but I can see it being made into a very good film.
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