First, Humphrey Bower's performance is magnificent. Men, women, children, Irish, Scottish, Australian, British and others are all executed wonderfully.
The story of the Potato Factory is a fantastic read. Full of interesting and complicated characters who experience joy and tragedy. After listening for nearly 24 hours, I found myself yearning for more. It is no wonder that Mr. Courtenay was such a successful author.
A much better story with more appealing and realistic characters
It was just one bad event after another, happening to characters who were not developed enough for me to care
Quite a few
I'm biased - The Power of One is probably my favorite novel of all time. Inexplicably, it's taken me a couple decades to seek out other Courtenay novels. But now that I have done so, I couldn't be more grateful. The Potato Factory is another amazing novel. It's not for the faint of heart, just as some (all?) of his other works aren't. But it's a great story with great characters, and it's well worth a listen. And I can't imagine a better narrator for these stories than Humphrey Bower. Mr. Bower really brings the characters to life. I can't wait to listen to the follow-up.
This is an absolutely wonderful find.
The Potato Factory is an absolutely fascinating novel mostly set in nineteenth-century London. It's a broad, sweeping epic tale of a few people in the seedy and sordid underbelly of society and the serpentine interactions of their lives.
Ultimately everyone ends up in Australia as a result of being deported on the convict ships, but that doesn't happen until the last third of the book.
The main characters are Ikey Solomon, a ruffian merchant, and Mary Abacus, an abused but resourceful woman who goes from being a servant to a prostitute/madam, then convict and small business owner. Ikey is largely despicable as a character, but he has some redeeming qualities. Mary is much more sympathetic. Ikey's wife and children are nasty and loathsome. There's a whole cast of secondary characters, including the band of young thievesand pickpockets Ikey has trained over the years.
The story is indeed Dickensian, but in the best possible way. Humphrey Bower's narration is absolutely first-class and he manages to convey accents of the London slum dwellers as well as Australian accents and even a couple of American accents. He's a vocal chameleon, and his narration is part of what makes this such a fabulous story.
The level of detail and historical description is absolutely stunning. Bryce Courtenay beings to life another age. The book is filled with interesting facts and snippets of information about things such as counterfeiting and the vaguely alarming justice ksystem which prevailed at the time.
I didn't want this book to end, and I am going out to get the next two in the series, whether I have any credits or not. If you like sweeping sagas with wonderful character descriptions and masterful plot twists, buy this book. It won't disappoint. If I could give this book more than five stars in each category, I would.
Great fanatastic entertaining.
Ikey. A horrible character that you can't help falling in love with.
Ikey's escape from the law.
When Ikey helped 'Billy gone queer' by giving him a new name.
Humphrey Bower's naration bought it to life for me.
I would recommend this audiobook to a friend. The story is historically based which is interesting. The reader is terrific. I cannot put the MP3 down!
Excellent and surprising book! I didn't think I would enjoy this book, however I loved it, and grabbed me right from the first chapter.
Love books since the age of 6 when I read the Call of the Wild. everything from sci-fi to bios. Cant get enough.
Enlightening, tragic, historic
Mr Bowers performance is perfect for this series. All of the trilogy comes alive with his narration
I wish the people in power would read these books. It seems to me, we are doomed to repeat the past over and over again. Will we never learn?
I loved both versions. I read the novel many years ago and I loved getting to know all the characters then, but times have changed and now being a busy mum with other commitments I don't have a lot of leisure time to sit down and immerse myself in a novel. I am finding that the audible versions of my favourite books are really exciting and I can listen to them all day - driving my children around, doing my house work or on my daily walk.
Although the scene made my blood boil with anger and weep with frustration and utter devastation my favourite scene was when Mary found Hawk and rescued him from the vile disgusting mountain man.
I loved the way Mr Courtenay has captured the essence of early Australian settlement and how it came about. Old London town was a fascinating place - with the help of Mr Courtenay's detailed descriptions I felt I was there - feeling, smelling and experiencing that miserable existence of the poor. I would love to build a time machine to take me back, then come back to thank Mr Courtenay for preparing me for what I was to see and face.
The Story was historically interesting
Too many to pick just one
Each person in the story had their own voice, sometimes I forgot it was the same man reading all the characters, very well done!
All and all a great listen, mayby a bit long.