Large Print Reviews
By Martin Fletcher
Reviewed by Simone Bonim - July 12, 2012
The List, by Martin Fletcher, is a work of fiction set against the backdrop of the Holocaust and the years after. This story begins in 1945, and it finds Edith and Georg, Austrian refugees in England, with Edith expecting her first child. They need and want to make a new life for themselves, but how can they when the world they once knew has been torn assunder and they don't know how many, if any, members of their extended family have survived the Nazi onslaught.
A journalist and war correspondent by trade, Martin Fletcher brings all his research skills and flare for writing gripping prose to this, his first novel. In this story he details the waves of antisemistism that continued to sweep around the world, even after the defeat of the Nazis, and the difficulties that people had in discovering the fate of their loves ones who may have fallen victim to the Nazi's murderous scheme to rid Europe of its Jewish population. As this story unfolds, Fletcher takes Edith and Georg from London to Palestine, where they find a home - but a home filled with dangers of its own.
However, The List is not simply a family saga, it is also a masterfully crafted thriller that finds Georg in possession of information about the planned assassiantion of a British official. Can he stop the plot, and if he can, should he? Faced with an almost insurmountable dilemna, Georg must come to terms with his own demons, the political landscape that he finds himself thrust into, and his desire to provide his family with a safe home.
>From beginning to end, The List is a real page turner that will have you sitting up late into the night to read this book all in one sitting. A haunting story, The List is also a story filled with hope, redemption, and insights into the world of Jewish refugees in Europe after war. For most people, the Holocaust ended with the fall of the Nazi regime. However, as Fletcher points out in this book, it continued for several years afterwards as thousands of displaced and often impoversished and ill Jews were denied a place to live. Many who returned to their home towns after the war faced open hostility and, all too often, were murdered or driven away by former friends and neighbors who had taken over their homes and property.
While England did not see the dispersal of her Jewish population during the war, antisemism was a real fact of life in England. Both native born, English Jews, and Jewish refugees in England faced antisemtism not only during the war, but increasingly afterwards as the competition for jobs and housing increased as thousands of soldiers were demobbed and returned to civivilan society. Throughout this book, Fletcher paints a very realistic and historcally accurate picture of English antisemism - giving this book a very realistic feel and highlighting a little talked about aspect of British history.
The list mentioned in the book's title is both one and many lists - all of them the same, lists of family members who were in Europe when the war started, and whose fate is unknown. Georg's has such a list and he is determined to find out what happened to his family members that he left behind when he fled to England. An all-around great read, I highly recommend The List to anyone looking for a thrilling, and elegantly written book, to read.
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- Muriel's War: An American Heiress in the Nazi Resistance, by Sheila Isenberg.
A biography of Muriel Gardiner, and American heiress who joined the anti-Fascist Austrian underground, and who was responsible for saving countless lives during the war.
- Silent Rebels, By Marion Schreiber.
The true story of the raid on the twentieth train that left the Mechelen transit camp carrying 1,618 Belgium Jews to Auschwitz.
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