Mr Rosenblum's List, By Natasha Solomons

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Natasha Solomons isn't the first novelist to send a Jewish outsider on a pitfall-strewn trip through the rustic mysteries of Hardy's Dorset: Howard Jacobson did so, edgily, in Peeping Tom.

As comic novels about weird goy cults go, hers is a much gentler affair. Refugee Jack Rosenblum yearns to assimilitate - to the point of invisibility. From cottage gardens to clubman's chat, he dives into all "the subtleties of Englishness".

As, in the tatty postwar years, he keeps calm and prospers, exclusion from the greens leads Jack to build his own golf course. Of course, his vision of "a St Andrews in the Blackmore Vale" leads into deep patches of rough.

Solomons enriches the comedy of pride and prejudice with Jack's reality-proof lyricism and moving glimpses of his shattered German past.