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The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1 | [Bryce Courtenay]

The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

Always leave a little salt on the bread. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Always leave a little salt on the bread...

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)

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3674 )
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Performance
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  •  
    NIcole Chelmsford, United Kingdom 02-26-13
    NIcole Chelmsford, United Kingdom 02-26-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Clear a whole weekend and bring tissues..."
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    Humphrey Bower brought the massive range of characters to life, so you laugh and cry and suffer with them.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Potato Factory?

    Ike's lessons to his boys (I am trying not to remember the many harrowing moments - I pray they fade with time!!)


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    As good as and better because there were more characters. Each was so uniquely spoken that a film could not have made clearer who was who.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It is too long for that - but oh my did I get quite fit - it is one of the only times I was happy to stay on the treadmill as I listened.


    Any additional comments?

    Can't wait for next book..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sherry United States 02-25-13
    sherry United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    2
    2
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    "A fabuous story!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    The characters are beautifully written and the plot carries one along.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Potato Factory?

    The harshness of the characters' lives combined with riveting dialogue.


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Marvelous voices and accents.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A saga of the old and new world, with characters and plot twists to love and hate.


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of the best "reads" I've enjoyed in many years. Totally satisfying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabrielle 02-25-13
    Gabrielle 02-25-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
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    Story
    "Great audible book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

    The narrator manages an excellent variety of voices and accents he really brought it to
    Life


    Any additional comments?

    Fascinating insight into early colonial history of Australia and the circumstances in England that lead to transportation

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Orlando, FL, United States 02-25-13
    David Orlando, FL, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2002
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    "One of the best of 300+ books I have listened to"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    Great story. FANTASTIC reader. Really a true artist.


    Any additional comments?

    Just a very good story. Good and evil, sometimes mixed up in each character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    VictoriaS Concord, CA, United States 02-25-13
    VictoriaS Concord, CA, United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    7
    7
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    "Excellent"

    Best book ever! One of those stories you didn't want to end (and I guess it hasn't because there's two more parts). I'm hoping parts 2 and 3 are as excellent as this,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SoCal Gal 02-23-13
    SoCal Gal 02-23-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    470
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Characters Came Fully Alive & Became Part Of Me"

    You need to know that I do very few reviews. I am no writer & despite the hundreds of books I read, I forget details quickly. Here goes.... My heart ached for these people & the characters part of me as I read all of the rich details. My reason for withholding from giving 5 stars is because my mind wandered toward the end. I felt like the last chapter was dragging, or perhaps the author didn't want the book to end. It could have been wrapped up without adding new situations at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy F. Sierra Foothills, Northern CA 02-22-13
    Nancy F. Sierra Foothills, Northern CA 02-22-13 Member Since 2007

    Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dickens + McMurtry = Outstanding Entertainment"

    From the very beginning I fell in love with the quirky characters. Set in early 19th century London it was easy to pick up on the Dickens-like portrayals. At the point when one of the street urchins (one of the smartest students in the Light Fingers Academy) was questioned outside a London courthouse by a reporter who identified himself as Charles Dickens (his only appearance in the book) I became intrigued with the connections. The urchin gave the reporter a made-up name of "Artful Dodger". It was a pretty quick step to realize from there that one of the main characters, Ikey Solomon, was a real life London thief. Dickens used Solomon as his model for Fagin in Oliver Twist -- where the Artful Dodger also appears.

    Yes, it's a long book. But I never once wanted it to speed up. The story is action-packed with fascinating characters and much intrigue. Since it's a triology, do not expect all story lines to be resolved. There is much more grist here for future mills!

    This is most definitely fiction but based on real history: places, characters and legal systems. It moves from London to the Australian penal colony where it picks up a very McMurtry-like tone (think Lonesome Dove). This book has given me the gift of a new favorite author and a new wonderful narrator. I bought it based on the recommendation of a reviewer I follow. What a tremendous discovery. And, thank you, fellow reviewer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Davis 02-22-13
    Barbara Davis 02-22-13 Member Since 2001

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not historical fiction!!"
    What did you like best about The Potato Factory? What did you like least?

    I found the jewish criminals as well as the gentile's relationships to them to be of great interest. The author was criticized for this portrayal but I don't agree. Should we not expect there would be jews in all walks of life?

    I enjoyed the pickpockets custom made coat. I just bought a Scottevest which has many concealed pockets and I think of the pickpocket's coat every time I try to remember which pocket has what in it.

    I learned something about the legal system of the time in England--also the workings of the 'criminal class'.

    I found the prose to be tedious. The book could do with a good edit.


    What could Bryce Courtenay have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Less detail about the individuals--move the story along. A good editor is essential to a good book.


    Was The Potato Factory worth the listening time?

    No. I like long books but this one tried my patience. I don't think I will listen to the others in this series.


    Any additional comments?

    Not historical fiction.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heART seneca sc 02-20-13
    heART seneca sc 02-20-13 Member Since 2013

    I'm a professional painter and love ennobling, enlightening literature

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "IT JUST DOESN'T GET BETTER"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    THE WRITING IS MASTERFUL


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    SINCE I CAN ONLY NAME ONE, IT WOULD BE MARY. SHE EMBODIES ALL THAT IS GOOD AND STRONG IN THE NAME OF PERSEVERANCE.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    THE ARM WRESTLING SCENE BUT IN ALL HONESTY, EVERY SCENE IS MIND BLOWING.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A SAGA OF CONSEQUENCE


    Any additional comments?

    I READ THE POWER OF ONE 15 YEARS AGO AND THOUGHT IT MOST BRILLIANT. SO PLEASED TO REDISCOVER BRYCE CORTENAY. I HAVE LEARNED THAT HE HAS WRITTEN 21 BOOKS AND HOPE TO READ THEM ALL. THE POTATO FACTORY IS AT THE VERY TOP OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS. RIVETING. THE CHARACTERS BREATHE. THE STORY IS EXTRAORDINARY. COULD NOT LOVE IT MORE.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Palm Desert, CA, United States 02-20-13
    Martin Palm Desert, CA, United States 02-20-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An interesting story of Australian history"
    Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

    Not sure if I would listen to the story again but I could recommend it as a good book in your library. I certainly will buy the author's next book in this series.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mary Abacus was my favorite character because she represents a strong willed survivor who was able to adapted to her environment. A true pioneer of Australian's history.She was a woman who paved the way for others.


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The story is interesting because it takes the characters and their stories from England to Australia. The author sets the stage for the next generations to carry on in the making of Australian's history. At first is was difficult to understand the narrator's Australian accent
    but that issue disappeared.


    If you could rename The Potato Factory, what would you call it?

    I would not rename the book. The Potato Factory fits the story.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was a fast listen because you don't want to put in down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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