Ikey Solomon's favorite saying is also his way of doing business, and in the business of thieving he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land.
In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds The Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey's wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families, one legitimate and the other bastard. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.
©1995 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2000 Bolinda Publishing Pyt Ltd by arrangement with Penguin Group (Australia)
"In the tradition of Charles Dickens, Courtenay creates a unique cast of characters from the outset of this epic novel....Humphrey Bower's performance is a marvel...making this one of those rare books with a sweep of characters the readers come to care about deeply." (AudioFile)
I spend so much time driving on business trips or suffering in boring exercise. For over 40 years I dreamed of something like Audible.
Through the years I've spent a great deal of time with Aussies. Australians truly like Americans. I like that, and I like Aussies too. But I also like Brits, and have always been surprised at how much Australians hate them. They hate the British almost as much as the Irish hate the British. If a bar is equally populated between Australians and Englishmen there will be a fist fight. The Australians will always begin the row, and usually finish it. There is a pub in London, where Yanks, Canucks, Kiwis and Aussies show their passports to enter. Brits are not allowed.
Many times I've heard Aussies describe themselves as"POME", pronounced POM-EE, It stands for "Prisoner of Mother England". I've been told about how Australia originated from English prisoners being exiled to prisons in Australia. But I had little detail. Courtenay's "The Potato Factory", based on a true story, eloquently tells us a story about the life of the prisoners, and of the life in early Australia.
The Potato Factory is truly a great story; well written with great characters. It is very descriptive, without belaboring the process. You can clearly visualize the characters and their surroundings.
The story begins in London. As it progressed, I couldn't help thinking of Charles Dickens. Then I was surprised to find Dickens, and Dickens' character, "The Artful Dodger" actually part of the book. What a treat.
For anyone who enjoys stories about 19th Century England and now Australia, don't pass this one up. I'll soon be starting "Tommo and Hawk".
I would listen to the book again, however the story is so vivid, that I would need to delay the rehearing.
The Potato Factory is reminiscent of a Charles Dickinson story.
I did not have a strong emotional reaction to the Potato Factory,as thankfully my life does not compare with the hard-scrabble life of the characters. However I fell I learned a great deal about England and Australia and the locations and atmosphere the book depicted were very stirring.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loved a little history lesson mixed in with a very good "read"
Potato Factory ranks amongst the top 5 books I've listened to. Ironically, two others are also written by Bryce Courtenay and read by Humphrey Bower. They are "The Price of One" and "Tania".
So many memorable moments! The crushing of Mary's hands by the jealous job seekers on the London wharves, the overseas journey in the women's slave boat, and the intrigue amongst the London thieves were fascinating and gripping at the same time.
Everything! His accents for the various characters bring the characters to life. His performance is amazing.
Yes, I found myself listening to it every moment I could carve free from my schedule.
Bryce Courtenay and Humphrey Bower are a formidable team. I highly recommend three other Courtenay books, "The Power of One", "Tania", and the "Four Fires". You will be brought to laughter then tears and finally exclaiming out loud as you listen to these books.
The weaving of the tale that created Sperm Whale Sally
An amazing story teller
This book moved into my number one position right after The Power of One.
I really did like the narrator's version where he gave voice to the various people in the book.
I love historical novels and this one was really good.
Sperm Whale Sally
One of my favorites that blend history and character together
Mary Abacaus- one determined lady who proved she could use her brain as well or better than those who placed obstacles in her path
Izey Soloman-I could visualize him based on the story and the narrators portrayal of him
Pretty long, best broken down into sittings for me.
Very interesting to learn about the abject poverty faced by many.
Story and narration fantastic! Humphrey Bower,s powerful narration really does this wonderful story justice. Highy recommended
This author was able to evoke an image of a harsh times, evil characters and dreadful misfortunes in the spirit of a good Dickens novel, and still managed to retain a sense of hope, love and loyalty for these poor people. The narration was good and I enjoyed his ability to keep the characters distinct and easily identifiable.
An excellent portrait of the 19th era both depicting the criminal life of Dickensian London and then the new life at the Australian colony. Well intertwine real historical figures and believable fictitious characters. The narration is one of the best performance experience I had on audible
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