Haunting and beautifully written, this popular comedian is without doubt a highly accomplished and talented author. Inspired by the experiences of his own grandfather, this is a complex tale of love, displacement and survival amongst the German Jewish internees on the Isle of Man during World War II. Powerful and dark, it’s a remarkable achievement, successful on so many planes, quite a book.
Comparison: Ben Elton, Keith Waterhouse, Stephen Fry.
Similar this month: Cecilia Samartin, Andrew Greig.
THE SECRET PURPOSES, David Baddiel’s third novel, takes us into a little-known and still somewhat submerged area of British history: the internment of German Jewish refugees on the Isle of Man during the Second World War. Isaac Fabian, on the run with his young family from Nazism in East Prussia, comes to Britain assuming he has found asylum, but instead finds himself drowning in the morass of ignorance, half-truth, prejudice, and suspicion that makes up government attitudes to German Jews in 1940. One woman, June Murray, a translator from the Ministry of Information, stands out – and when she comes to the island on a personal mission to uncover solid evidence of Nazi atrocities, her meeting with Isaac will have far-reaching consequences for both of them.
A haunting and beautifully written tale of love, displacement and survival, THE SECRET PURPOSES profoundly questions the way that truth – both personal and political – emerges from the tangle of history.
‘The Secret Purposes is a satisfying, brave novel . . . By leaving behind the postmodern irony overload of the stand-up comic’s novel, Baddiel has been able to confront the ironies of history’ OBSERVER
‘An intriguing novel about history and truth . . . The intelligence and inquiry of this book will surprise many’ THE TIMES
‘Moving . . . his tone is one of wry despair rather than outrage’ SUNDAY TIMES
‘Taking a shameful part of Britain’s wartime history, Baddiel vividly personalises it in a love story that questions the nature of romantic love’
‘David Baddiel’s excellent new novel . . . Sensitive, intelligent and deeply moving, The Secret Purposes is both a gripping read and a long overdue indictment of Britain’s treatment of Jewish refugees’
‘This is a well-written, interesting and earnest novel, in which some big ideas are thoughtfully handled . . . There’s much, in other word, to respect and enjoy here’ TELEGRAPH
‘A bright spark . . . Baddiel’s novel provides an unusual glimpse into the ignorance and prejudices of war-torn Britain. Fusing fact and fiction, it’s a war story and a love story inspired by his own German-Jewish grandfather’s wartime experiences. It’s an ambitious novel, full of sadness, regret and horror’ MIRROR
Publication date: 07/04/2005
Publisher: Time Warner Books
|Publication date:||7th April 2005|
|Publisher:||Time Warner Books|
|Genres:||Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
David Baddiel was born in 1964 in Troy, New York, but grew up and lives in London. He is a comedian, television writer, columnist and author of three previous novels, of which the most recent is The Secret Purposes.More About David Baddiel