Page 105. " They'd talked about it in the meeting of her Party branch. "

Liz Gold is a member of the Bayswater branch of the British Communist Party.

The Party was established in 1920 and dissolved in 1991, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Page 111. " He remembered a book by Koestler "

Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) wrote Darkness at Noon after becoming disillusioned with, and leaving, the Communist Party of Germany in 1938.  Published in 1940, the book brought him instant fame, with its devastatingly critical portrayal of Communism.  The main character Rubashov is arrested, imprisoned under harsh conditions, tried and executed in an unnamed country ruled by a dictatorship, but there was little doubt the novel referred to the Soviet Union.  It served to draw attention to the harsh realities of life under Stalin's regime.

Page 121. " like Aaron's rod miraculously to hold apart massive seas of encroaching forest "
Moses Parts the Red Sea
Public DomainMoses Parts the Red Sea - Credit: Providence Lithograph Company

Aaron was the brother of Moses in the Old Testament.  Aaron's rod refers to any of the staves he carried, and the miraculous powers they displayed.  Aaron turned his rod into a serpent which then ate the serpent-rods of Pharoah's sorcerers.

This passage refers to another miracle, when Moses used a rod to part the Red Sea.  He may or may not have borrowed it from his brother, but this instrument of deliverance is usually called "Moses's rod".


And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Exodus 14: 15-16