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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 (3496 )
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4.6 (2494 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tana Harrison, AR, United States 09-29-12
    Tana Harrison, AR, United States 09-29-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    52
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    "Awesome!"

    Best use of credits in a long time. Hated to finsih this 20+ hour read. Excellent narration to accompany a saga that pulls you in right from the beginning. This is a great story about the lives of 3 innertwinned from young adults over the next several decades. I've found some Bryce Courtenay material slow and tedious but this book kept me wanting more from the very beginning.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marian Hortal Madrid, Spain 09-26-12
    Marian Hortal Madrid, Spain 09-26-12 Member Since 2010

    Marian

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best audibook (the complete Trilogy) ever read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    The story is amazing, and so are all the characters of the book. Writen with a rithym you can never stop.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The personality of all the characters. All of them are different and address life according to their vision of the world


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

    I have read/heard many audiobooks, but I find this narrator the best I've ever heard. I really don't know if I would have liked the three books better, if read by myself


    Who was the most memorable character of The Potato Factory and why?

    Mary Abacus. Her strenght and sense of justice. She never gives up!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta HALF MOON BAY, CA, United States 09-25-12
    Roberta HALF MOON BAY, CA, United States 09-25-12 Member Since 2010

    Sensitive critic

    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    "Really enjoyed it - great, sweeping novel"

    I really enjoyed this book and also learned a lot about the history of Australia, plus Ikey Solomon, who was a real person. The novel goes into great detail (sometimes too much detail - I found myself saying, "Come on, just get on with it!" in several places) - but as a whole, I thought it was very good.

    There are comments that the novel is anti-Semitic and I went into listening to it with an open mind, but unfortunately I think the comments are true. I found out five years ago that I'm Jewish, so I'm more sensitive to things like that and I was resenting a few of the things he said. I don't know if it was because there was a lot of prejudice in the early days of London and Australia against the Jews - after all, he was very historically accurate - however some of the comments - at least to me - were not necessary. There are racially-biased comments against the Aborigines, but I know that there has been a lot of prejudice against them in the past.

    The novel covers a lot of time and I enjoyed it. I would have given it five stars if it wasn't for the too-extensive detail at times, plus the prejudiced remarks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 09-25-12
    Mark 09-25-12
    ratings
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    17
    2
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    "Stectactular Story. This author is a true find!"
    Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Having been an Audible member since 2004, I have a large library and this will definitely rank in my top 10 reads. The rich characters, the incredible language and the engaging story combined with an excellent reader makes this worth every minute.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Flemington, NJ, United States 09-24-12
    John Flemington, NJ, United States 09-24-12 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    95
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    "Outstanding audiobook trilogy"

    The story is expertly brought to life by Humphrey Bower's narration - he does a great job with all the different characters and accents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph California 09-18-12
    Ralph California 09-18-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Masterful, Creative, Touching, non-stop Enjoyment"

    "Always leave a little salt on the bread, my dears..."

    It is really hard to add to some of the great previous reviews, but I really loved this book. The ease and craft with which Courtenay brings London, in the early 1800’s, alive, with its pickpockets, thieves, orphans and whores, is masterful. In the forward, Courtney states his significant effort and research to make this trilogy a historically accurate portrayal of the events and times. This comes across in the richness and believability of his characters with their independent stories and intersecting lives. The result is a real pleasure to read. Ikey, the successful master fence and “trainer/father-figure/runner” of orphan street kids is an intelligent and complex character that one grudgingly finds likeable at some level. His partnership with the indomitable Mary Abacus, with her innate genius for business and her ability to triumph over the extreme adversities in her life, is one of mutual benefit and ultimately muted affection. Their activities ultimately result in their being parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to Hobart Town, 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 shrew of a wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families, one legitimate and the other bastard. The story of Mary’s two “adopted” twin boys, one black and one white, is surreal, sets the stage for the second book, and not to be missed. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster. This book - part one of a trilogy - is a heart-rendering novel of the souls that were taken to 'The fatal shore' of Australia and survived against ALL odds. This is a story of passion and pain, as well as the careful creation of characters that you won't soon forget and learn to care about. Courtenay creates a novel that is reminiscent of a cross between Dickens and Hemingway - full of passion, yet using a 'down to earth' style of prose with characters that you either hate, appreciate, or love, but are never bored with.

    The second book of the trilogy, “Tommo & Hawk” is equally wonderful and engrossing. It made me laugh and cry with, and at, the characters, but more about that later…..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim 09-03-12
    Kim 09-03-12
    ratings
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    "Great story, Great performance"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have already recommeded this book to a friend! The writing paints such a vibrant picture while the performance of Humphrey Bower brings it to life.


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

    Mr. Bowers performance was the best I have ever heard in an audiobook. His ability to give each character a different and very specific voice is unbelieveable. He brought the characters to life. More than once when listening while driving to work I missed my turn, completely absorbed in the story.


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

    EPIC! Though I cannot believe an movie could ever get the detail portrayed in this book.


    Any additional comments?

    The descriptive writing put me in London in 1830's and in Hobart town of 1840's. Loved this book and glad it is part of a trilogy so I can keep listening!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dal CARY, NC, United States 09-03-12
    dal CARY, NC, United States 09-03-12 Listener Since 2007
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    "One Of My Fovorites"

    How Bryce Courtenay came up with all these wonderful characters and stories narrated by Humphrey Bower completely amazes me.

    Whenever I want to be entertained I simply start on a Bryce Courtenay / Humphrey Bower book.

    I have bought them all, even Whitethorn. It's listed on Audible, but they won't sell it to "people in my jurisdiction". I bought it on CD from Amazon.

    That's how much I like Bryce Courtenay / Humphrey Bower. What more needs to be said.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindi B. 09-01-12
    Cindi B. 09-01-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    7
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    "One of the best I've ever listening to !!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I highly recommend this book. The story line was original!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the story and the reader


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

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine 08-29-12
    Christine 08-29-12 Member Since 2012
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    81
    4
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    "great book with an entertaining story"
    Any additional comments?

    Bryce Courtney is a great Author and I cant wait to listen to more

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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