Customer Reviews: The List: A Novel
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on October 21, 2011
THE LIST is top of my list.

Martin Fletcher, the famed award winning news correspondent, has set his first novel, THE LIST, in immediate post WW II war-torn London and Palestine. In London we follow the saga of a young Viennese Jewish couple, Georg, a lawyer, Edith, his pregnant wife, and her cousin, Anna, a concentration camp survivor, as they struggle to make their way in a new land and at the same time learn the fate of the many relatives named on Georg's list who were left behind in the hands of the Nazis. We are connected with the struggle for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine as Anna and Georg unwittingly become involved with London based Jewish freedom fighters.

Fletcher proves to be a master storyteller taking us on a roller coaster ride of emotions. His knowledge of 1946 London and Palestine lends well to the telling of the story and his mastery of language is superb. At times the reader holds their breath in anticipation that another name will or will not be crossed off Georg's list. At other times tears are close as another disappointment besets characters we have learned to care about.

THE LIST is a compelling tail of the selfless struggles, antagonizing disappointments, and soaring joys of a generation we should never forget.
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on October 27, 2011
This is a terrific, engrossing story - not just of Jewish immigrants in London near and after the end of WWII, but also of fledgling efforts to create a Jewish state. The characters jump from the page and the author, a celebrated journalist and author of non-fiction books about his adventures as a foreing correspondent, creates a lively plot that is suspenseful and believable. I found this book to be one of those that I couldn't put down once I'd started and was up until 2 am to finish it.

Aside from the story and skillful writing, Mr. Fletcher provided alot of insight and information on real people involved in British politics at the time which gave the book even more dimension. I read many books that take place in England, present-day or past, and I found these insights very illuminating with respect to current politics.

Highly recommended!
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on November 5, 2011
Martin Fletcher tells the story of Georg and Edith, Austrian Jewish refugees in postwar London. An incredibly personal tale based on the lives of his parents, with whom I and many other American college students lived during semester in London programs in the late 80's-90's. Seemingly set in the very house that we all lived in with them, this book felt like I was getting to know these two remarkable characters all over again. London had given them a home when they had no where else to go (albeit with some good old British resentment) and later they gave American college students a home-from-home (with no resentment at all!). All the tea I drank with her and how she listened to my tales, never once telling me anything of the amazing, tragic but ultimately (I hope) satisfying life they led. Martin tells the story with all the sensitivity, care, and respect that you might from a son painting a written portrait of the struggle and success of first-class parents.
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on March 12, 2012
I am not surprised by the quality of the material found in this book since the author is known to be a man of intergrity and great insight. I have watched him for years in his role as a reporter. The story is so truthful and factual, and you are drawn in as if you were in the midst of the lives of the people. To me, it is a great historical novel when it makes you feel as if you are one of the characters.
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on January 1, 2012
Saw Martin Fletcher on a morning news show talking about his book. I decided to purchase it. It is a great read. I have read many holocaust stories, but this one is about those who got away. It is a unique perspective of the holocaust. Recommend it highly.
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on March 20, 2012
I listened to the excellent audio of this book by David Thorn. Through the story of Edith and Georg, a young Jewish couple living in London after the end of WWII and awaiting the birth of their first child, Fletcher weaves their growing realization of all they've lost of their families and personal histories with the growing foment to remove the 'alien refugees' from London neighborhoods beset with housing shortages in the aftermath of the war's destruction. With many returning British veterans needing jobs and housing, the plight of Edith and Georg and others in their circle becomes more dangerous as anti-government terrorist attacks linked to the creation of the Zionist state of Israel unwittingly involve Georg. With a deft hand Fletcher entwines the plots of the Palestinian Jews to subvert the anti-Semitism of the British Foreign Minister with this young couple whose hopes for a brighter future are growing in Edith's womb. While at times overwritten, this is an excellent continuation of the story of how the creation of a Jewish homeland involved intrigue, terror, opposition and courageous persistence in the face of overwhelming sorrow. Unique twists by Fletcher lend satisfaction to this read. Highly recommend to those interested in learning more about how the Jewish State struggled to come into being.
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on January 29, 2014
This book felt almost as if it were two separate books. Fletcher captures the horror of a young couple isolated from their families during the war, waiting for news of survivors. Their harrowing wait is compounded by the mounting realization that the unthinkable has happened. When Fetcher writes George and Ediths's story, he does it with loving detail, stripping away everything but the hopelessness of their lives, the anticipation for the other shoe to drop,as one by one names are eliminated from the list. The list itself become a talisman, the one thing they can hold onto as they try to live in an hostile home. Poor,unable to find work, reviled as interlopers, they meet with the same anti semitism they narrowly escaped. Their despair of not belonging, with no place or friends to turn to is gut wrenching. His description of the English political climate adds to the hopelessness of the Fleisher's situation. It is only when the book goes off to Palestine that it become muddy and indistinct. We never get a clear understanding of the different factions fighting for control. The coincidences cheapened what would have been a terrific story. Anna never really tells her story, yet it is a story that needed to be told. Lastly, without giving away spoilers, Ismael was so obvious, it bordered silly taking away from the
from a wonderfully developed story of losing everything and then finding the wherewithal to try and find a reason to live again. Ultimately, it's a story about hope, and the message that if you don't give up, life will find you.
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on April 24, 2012
Martin Fletcher draws you into the tension of the times. The losses of the Jewish people the close calls that the survivors had in order to survive. The waiting to find out what happened to your family I could feel it in my bones, the intrigue kept me turning the pages. The brave English people with their courage to Fight the Nazis had no empathy left for the surviving Jews, which seem like a current situation when the economy gets bad take it out on the new immigrants. I'm looking for a follow up book to know what happened with the characters who stayed in England and the ones that went to Isreal.
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on April 12, 2012
This novel sounded so intriguing in the blurb, but it was such a disappointment to read. There are two story lines. First there are Georg and Edith, Austrian refugees living in London and expecting their first child. The other story line doesn't focus on one person, but several Jewish operatives in Palestine trying to harass the British into allowing more Jews into the territory while also taking revenge for comrades lost to the cause. These two story lines don't come together until the last quarter of the story.

This story had a lot of potential, but Martin Fletcher, an award-winning news correspondent, did not successfully make the transition from journalist to writer. Far too often in both story lines Fletcher awkwardly inserts history lessons and news reports into dialogue, letters, and the narrative itself. While the information is interesting, it feels contrived when a character describes a concentration camp in a page-long flashback or when Jewish operatives read British military reports to each other and discuss the political context of them.

Especially in Georg and Edith's story, these information dumps badly mask the fact that most of the action is taking place 'off stage.' Other than the scenes in which Londoners campaign to have the Jews sent back to their country of origin, Georg and Edith spend much of their time sitting around wondering what happened to their family members and worrying about the baby.

I wish Fletcher had focused only on Georg and Edith's story. All the rest could have been cut out, perhaps for another novel, and what would be left would have been a poignant story about young refugee couple trying to cope in a city that doesn't want them.
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on March 10, 2012
I started this book yesterday evening and cannot put it down! Fabulous historical fiction about a sad period in British history post WWII. The British were quite schizophrenic, saving Jews (refugees and Kindertransport children) then not allowing them into Palestine/Israel. A strange chapter very well told by an awesome author!
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