The English German Girl by Jack Wallis Simons

I bought this book for two reasons – to balance out the chicklit of the previous book and because I’ve always been very interested in books surrounding Germany and the holocaust ever since reading The diary of Anne Frank and its accompanying literature as a little girl. I should also mention it was in the £0.99 deal.

This book is different, it isn’t written by a survivor or based on diaries, but is completely fictional. Whilst the author has taken efforts researching the subject matter, it feels like we’re strangers starting into something happening rather than get immersed in it.

There is hardly any characterisation and people appear and disappear throughout and past disagreements are rarely mentioned. The protagonist – Rosa – degenerates more and more into craziness and in turn becomes unlikeable. Time jumps months or years ahead with most chapters and if feels lazy of the author to not make any reference or indication to the lost and skipped time with the exception of the new date as the chapter title.

The writing is curious – there are a large number of German words interspersed in the text from her father’s nickname for Rosa – Püppchen – to words in conversations, but most of the time they feel out of place and tacked on and I wonder how non German speakers would cope. The author also had an annoying habit of constructing incredibly long sentenced with ten or more commas which makes for difficult reading.

I wouldn’t recommend it.

My Kindle activity which includes shared quotes and finished books. I blog about books I’ve read in the ‘Books‘ category. And, finally, my Amazon Wishlist includes upcoming books I am planning to read.
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6 Comments

  1. Posted September 25, 2012 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    why was this noevl never publised in USa and US edition for readers in USA?

  2. Posted October 3, 2012 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t know, Danny, sorry!

  3. Posted October 3, 2012 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    I asked Jake the other day, he told me no never pubbed in USA. I asked him why? he did not respond. he just said “No, never, sorry” on tweet to me. he seems tightlipped about this and i am trying to buy rights to sell it in USa with big publisher but Jake refuses to reply to my emails. is he ashamed of the book? or what? i don’t get it.

  4. Posted October 3, 2012 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    “Kindertransport’ novel deserves American readers, too

    by Danny Bloom

    CHIAYI CITY, TAIWAN — When the British novel titled “The German
    English Girl” was published in London in 2011, the deeply-felt
    ”kindertransport”-themed book received high praise and good reviews
    in England, it was never released in America and was never reviewed in
    the New York Times or other prestigious national newspapers. Even the
    Jewish media in North America ignored Jake Wallis Simons novel, and
    important books about the Holocaust shouldn’t be treated that way on
    this side of the Atlantic.

    Simons is a 34-year-old Jewish novelist in Britain, and he’s written
    three novels so far. In my online search to find out more about him,
    this Taiwan-based reporter learned that Jake spent two years in Taiwan
    in the 1990s teaching English and learning Chinese as part of his
    “gap” year between high school and college, as many British students
    use that time to travel and explore the world.

    As Internet encounters would have it, I met Simons online by complete
    random chance a few weeks ago, and during our initial chats we were
    both surprised
    to learn that we had “Taiwan” in common, Jake for two years, and 15
    years for me.

    Via Twitter, I reached out and asked Jake about his
    ”kindertransport” novel. When I asked him in a tweet if the book had
    been released in New York, he replied: “No, never.” I could not
    believe my ears, well, in this case, my eyes. How could an important
    Jewish novel like this remain unpublished in America?

    “An English German Girl,” Simons second novel on Jewish themes, got
    very positive reviews in his native country. “Fascinating and moving.
    Shines a light on a
    neglected aspect of WWII,” said British novelist Monica Ali.

    In the novel, as a publication note puts it, “the Klein family in Germany is
    slowly but surely losing everything they hold dear — or ever took for
    granted — as Hitler’s anti-Jewish laws take hold in 1930s Berlin. In
    desperation, fifteen-year-old Rosa is put on a Kindertransport train
    out of the country, to begin a new life in England. In a foreign country,
    barely able to make herself understood, she struggles to find a way to
    rescue her parents. Overtaken by the war, however, they gradually lose
    touch. Now Rosa must face the prospect of not only being unable to
    fulfil her vow to save her family but also of an unknown future, quite
    alone.”

    Calling Simons “one of Britain’s most compelling and original new
    voices,” a British reviewer said that Simons blended ”meticulous research with
    powerful storytelling in an epic journey from heartbreak to hope.”

    Certainly this is a Holocaust-themed novel worth being released in
    America, too. Why it was published only in Britain when the entire
    English-speaking world — and especially Jewish readers everywhere —
    would benefit from reading it is a publishing industry puzzle. One
    reviewer in London even compared the book to “Schindler’s List,” which
    was written by an Australian novelist before making its way around the
    world. So I, for one, am rooting for Simon’s kindertransport novel to
    get a second chance at reaching Jews world with a New York release.

    The novel will surely resonate with American readers.

    Here’s a telling anecdote: When the book was published in 2011, Simons
    made an appearance at a book
    festival in Britain and appeared on the stage alongside Walter
    Kammerling, a Kindertransport survivor whom he had
    interviewed years ago, when he was just starting to write the book.

    “Walter brought home to me … the greater meaning of my novel, which
    is to keep the memory of the ‘Kindertransport’ alive in the minds of
    future generations. Or, on an even more fundamental level, to allow
    people to empathize with the persecuted and oppressed,” Simons says.
    “Walter had travelled halfway across the country to appear at the book
    festival, determined — even at the age of 91 — to spread his message
    of pluralism and
    tolerance. My book, in some very small (and perhaps incomparable) way,
    is contributing to this effort.”

    “After the event, there was a [book] signing,” Simons said. “A few
    people asked Walter to sign the novel as well. Before long this became
    the form; I would sign it, then he would sign below. I was humbled.
    This seemed to be exactly the right way to end such a very unique
    event.”

    And an even better way to put a coda to Simon’s novel would be to see
    it released
    in America, too, perhaps with a Hollywood screenplay to follow as
    well. Important novels like this one should not be hidden away in
    England. I hope the New York publishing world is reading this article.

  5. Posted October 3, 2012 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    you said you would not recommend it. would you recommend now for US readers in a new US edition?

  6. Posted June 20, 2014 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Hi there, its pleasant post concerning media print, we all understand media is a wonderful source of information.


2 Trackbacks

  1. By Broken Kindle! « carocat.co.uk on March 21, 2012 at 4:08 am

    […] The English German Girl by Jack Wallis Simons […]

  2. By Books I’ve read in 2012 « carocat.co.uk on December 30, 2012 at 3:36 am

    […] The English German Girl by Jack Wallis Simons […]

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