Thursday, March 8, 2012

What We're Reading Now: Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English

Anglophiles across the country are having a hard time adjusting, now that Downton Abbey is on hiatus. If you, too, miss quirky accents and whimsical turns of phrase, stuffy lords and ladies, and the lush countryside, I highly recommend the staff’s book club choice of the month, Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons.

As you may know, we try to pick books that deal with themes in our exhibition including exile, memory, and renewal. This book has all of the above.

At the outset of World War II, Jack Rosenblum and his family escape Berlin for London. Jack embraces the welcome pamphlet instructing immigrants how to act like "the English." He starts a successful business, and buys fancy suits, and a beautiful car. He sends his daughter to the best schools and he never speaks German, apart from the occasional curse. But one key item — membership in a golf club —remains elusive. So Jack hatches a wild idea: he'll build his own.

Jack's wife, Sadie, does not share this obsession. She wants to hold onto the pain of losing her parents and her brother. She remembers them by the bittersweet act of cooking her mother's recipes.

At once poignant and comic, the book brings up a lot of interesting questions about assimilation, acceptance, community, and family.

Stay tuned for next month’s pick, or write us with your suggestion.

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