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They Won’t Let You Live

by Simon Blumenfeld

They Won’t Let You Live is the story of two shop-owners – one Christian, one Jewish – running small family businesses in 1930s London. It tells of their stands against the decimating forces of big business, and the hopes and fears of their loved ones in a London blighted by depression, rising unemployment and destitution, at a time when fascists march in the streets and the inevitability of war in Europe looms. A merciless class system is examined, along with questions of racism, antisemitism and the battle between the sexes. 

Simon Blumenfeld’s fourth and final novel, first published in 1939, critically revisits the challenging and controversial themes evoked by Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice. Blumenfeld sets out to confound the reader’s prejudices and expectations in a plot that does not shy away from the difficult and the disturbing. In an ever-growing atmosphere of violence in both public and private life, Blumenfeld explores how language that springs from our emotions and misapprehensions shapes our world and, indeed, how it appears to us. Hope is not lost, yet rests on the shoulders of the ‘orphans of the storm’.


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