The Secret Purposes

by David Baddiel

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Historical fiction Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Secret Purposes

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.

Sarah Broadhurst

The Secret Purposes Synopsis

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.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780349117461
Publication date: 7th April 2005
Author: David Baddiel
Publisher: Time Warner Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 416 pages
Primary Genre Historical fiction
Other Genres:
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David Baddiel Press Reviews

‘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’
MARIE CLAIRE

‘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’
IMAGE

‘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

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780349117461
Publication date: 07/04/2005
Format: Paperback

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About David Baddiel

David Baddiel was born in 1964 in Troy, New York, but grew up and lives in London. An accomplished comedian, author, screenwriter and television presenter, David Baddiel returned to stand-up comedy in 2013 with his critically acclaimed show, Fame: Not The Musical. In June 2016 David Baddiel’s first children’s novel, The Parent Agency won the LOLLIE award for ‘best laugh out loud book for 9-13 year olds’ and is currently developed into a feature film by Fox 2000, written and produced by David himself, alongside Academy Award and BAFTA winning producer Ruth Kenley-Letts. David subsequently published further children&...

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