Jerusalem has been called many things. “City of Secrets” probably not until that is Stewart O’Nan chose that title for his 2016 novel of the tumultuous years in the “Holy Land” after the end of the Second World War.
The title implies the story is about the city of Jerusalem, which to a large extent it is, but it’s primarily about one member of a group of people campaigning to get Great Britain to fulfill its 1917 promise that the land west of the Jordan River become a homeland for the Jewish people.
O’Nan assigns his protagonist
the single un-Jewish name “Brand.” Brand is a Holocaust survivor who makes his
way through the blockade set up by the British to prevent Jewish refugees from
the Holocaust from reaching the Holy Land beyond the small annual quota.