Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs
As Benny 'the Fixer' Pomeranski is laid to rest on a cold November morning at the turn of the twenty-first century, a motley crew of survivors from his youth assembles around the grave, its members 'identified by their lived-in faces - faces that indicated a singular kind of past, a chequered hinterland.' This encounter with the past, and the discovery of his father Benny's diaries, leads Simon Pomeranski back to his childhood and the post-war days of the Astorians, a small group of criminals and traders in 'swag' who ran their business from Brixton Market and exercised their own particular brand of justice. From this wonderful assortment of characters we are introduced to 'Spanish' Joe, the cultured Russian emigre, Sam 'the Stick', with his wounded machismo and penchant for violent retribution, and the dazzling songstress Estelle, among others. Front and centre in their world, though, is Benny himself, the autodidact owner of Pomeranski Gowns, whose passionate affair with Estelle marks the beginning of a new era for the Astorians. Both riotous and profound, this novel resurrects a vibrant era that deserves a place in our collective memory.