Saturday, December 12, 2009


I think that John Lawton's Troy series are brilliantly written books and am enjoying reading Blackout, the third book in the series set in 1944.
But I have noticed an error! I wondered if this was deliberate as surely someone as clever as John Lawton would not make such a simple mistake, or was it the editor?

Troy realised how odd this must be to a man of Onion's age. He had been born into another world . He was of an age with the novels of H.G.Wells and Jules Verne. He had been seven when two bicycle manufacturers took their dream down to Kittyhawk, South Carolina, and made it fly.

But I am being pedantic there is too much wit, wisdom and suspense in this novel to let such a simple geographical error spoil my enjoyment. Although Tarheels might be very annoyed.

'God, all that paperwork. You wouldn't think a German would be so hard to find. There's never one around when you want one.'
'If he was here in 1940, then he would almost certainly have been rounded up in that wave of detentions after the fall of Norway. He may even have been interned. That means fingerprints.'
'Well, he's hardly likely to have arrived here since, is he?'

'It's that possibility that worries me,' said Troy.


Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

One must know north from south in that part of the world.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Well done you, Norman -- that is not a slip that'd escape you. But may we go back to Second Violin. It's a favourite of mine, and so I remember well excellent and appreciative reviews by Rhian and yourself. Now, you mentioned then an error Lawton made re the rabbi and his son, but you did not elaborate. I should have asked at the time, because I recalled something amiss there, but couldn't remember what. Thinking back, I think it may have been the matter of the son apparently inheriting the post of rabbi from his father. Among the Hasidim over in Stamford Hill this would happen, but in Lawton's Stepney, I wasn't so sure -- they didn't seem at all Charedi to me. And so, do you remember what error it was you spotted, Norman?

5:47 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Philip from memory it was that the son had the same first name as the father. The rabbi father had only just been murdered, and Ashkenazi Jews don't name someone after a living person. The Sephardi may have different customs but I am fairly sure this family was Ashkenazi.

Ashkenazi are from Germany, Poland, Russia: Sephardi from Spain and Portugal who were expelled in 1492 and went to thrive in the Ottoman Empire, Italian city states and the Netherlands.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

Yes, I am sure they were Ashkenazi, Norman. The Sephardim had pretty well gone from the East End and even the City by the end of the 19th.c., away to the West End and suburbs, and I think Lawton would have had the Ashkenazi community in mind, even if he didn't know why, as it were. Well done you for spotting that one as well. Such a man for the textual pilpul.:-)

7:54 AM  

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