Archive for the ‘Review’ Category
At first glance, Out Of It, a debut novel by the short story writer Selma Dabbagh, seems – stylistically – more easy reading than literary fiction. It is set aside, however, by the weight of the material: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Or rather, the Palestinian side of it.)
The story centres around a pair of twentysomething boy-and-girl twins, Iman and Rashid. We first meet them in Gaza in the midst of an Israeli barrage (although the precise details of place and political context are curiously obscured). Rashid is excited that he has won a scholarship to London, giving him the opportunity to finally get “out of it”. Iman, meanwhile, traumatised by the death of a friend, resolves to take a more active role in the hostilities. Read more on the Independent website
War tale breathes new life into familiar story (the Herald Scotland reviews The English German Girl by JWS)
“. . . I didn’t know of Simons’s work until last month, when the editor of this, his second novel, enthused about it. A few weeks later a copy was pressed into my hands by the publisher, but it’s only in the past few days that I have found time to read it.
The English German Girl is a thoroughly researched recreation of the life of a professional Jewish family in Berlin, under the Third Reich. Herr Doktor Klein is an eminent surgeon with three children. As the net begins to tighten on the Jewish community, he refuses to believe it can get any worse. It takes a belated awakening to the brutal truth before he tries to engineer an escape for the whole family. This proves impossible, but he does manage to find a place for his middle child, 15-year-old Rosa, on the Kindertransport, those now famous trains that were allowed to take a limited number of children out of the country. Rosa is despatched to reluctant relatives in England, from where it is hoped she can find work for the rest of the Kleins. Meanwhile, war draws closer, and the prospects of fleeing grow slim. Read the rest of this entry »