Tuesday 8 November 2011

The English German Girl by Jake Wallis Simons

I really loved the first half of this book. The novel has a strong lyrical voice. Simons faces a problem that is familiar to me. He is telling a story over a long period of time - 1933 to 1947. Mine actually only goes from 1938 to 1947, but I have three strands. Although Simons frequently changes point of view, there is only one main plot. I have three plots that come together. It was reassuring to see that spreading the narrative over such a long period can work. I guess I am so keen on the first part because the author gradually reveals the deterioration in life in Germany for the Jews and the trauma for Rosa of being a girl who feels herself to be German living in an English family. I found the second part a little disappointing. The plot becomes a little clichéd and there are a few too many coincidences. The story becomes one set in the Holocaust, not about the Holocaust. However, I’m sure this is fine for a reader with a different agenda from mine. Simons also has a web site that gives more information on the topic: The English German Girl On the whole, this book gives much insight into what it might have been like for a young Jewish girl came to England on the Kindertransport.

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