About Time I Read It: The List by Martin Fletcher

Back in 2014 I reviewed Martin Fletcher’s novel Jacob’s Oath. Set in 1945 during the weeks following Germany’s surrender it told the story of two young Jewish lovers in Heidelberg as they struggled repair their horribly shattered lives and together move forward. The novel was a big hit with me, so much so it ended up making my year-end Best Fiction List. Enjoying Fletcher’s novel as much as I did I vowed to read his earlier novel The List should the opportunity ever arise. ‘

Lo and behold, one Saturday afternoon while meandering through the shelves at my local public library what did I find but a copy of The List. In the mood for a little fiction I decided to give The List a shot, hoping I’d enjoy it as much as I did Jacob’s Oath. In the end, while I enjoyed Fletcher’s later novel Jacob’s Oath more, I found The List a satisfying read.

Published in 2011 and just like The List it’s also the story of a pair of Holocaust survivors during the aftermath of WWII. This time it’s Georg and Edith, a young married couple from Vienna who’ve found refuge in London. While thankful to have escaped the Nazis, nevertheless their struggle to move forward with their lives hasn’t been easy. While Georg seeks employment and Edith deals with a difficult pregnancy, both nervously await word from the Continent that some or even any of their relatives survived the Nazi onslaught. Meanwhile, Georg and Edith along with the rest of Britain’s Jewish refugee community must contend with the rising tide of anti-Semitism, fueled not only by the belief such refugees are taking away both jobs and housing from native Britons but also anger over British soldiers killed and wounded by Jewish fighters in Palestine.

Like I said earlier, even though I liked Jacob’s Oath more, The List still delivered the goods and didn’t leave me disappointed. (However, I did see a major plot twist coming a mile away, but that’s OK. It’s rare I can detect these things in advance.) Who knows, I might even give his latest novel Promised Land a shot.

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