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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 (3493 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Cheryl Folkerth Phoenix, AZ United States 08-25-12
    Cheryl Folkerth Phoenix, AZ United States 08-25-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good, but not satisfying"
    Would you try another book from Bryce Courtenay and/or Humphrey Bower?

    I thought the reading of the story was very good. He was able to differentiate the characters in this story and paint a picture of them with his voice. I think the story was well researched and provided insight to a period of time and place that I did not know much about. However, the ending of the story felt rushed. it was almost as if he found it easier to describe the horrific things that happened, but didn't know how to end it. I was ultimately left feeling unsatisfied. After listening to so many hours of terrible things, even with the indomnitable spirit of Mary Abacus, I found myself saying, really, that's how you're going to end it.

    However, the characters were well drawn and the story was told without apology for the good and bad in each. These are characters that will stay with me for awhile. That is saying something.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Australia 08-13-12
    Karen Australia 08-13-12
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    6
    6
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    Performance
    Story
    "An Outstanding Story Read By A Very Talented Man"
    What made the experience of listening to The Potato Factory the most enjoyable?

    This is a most engaging story, telling the history of early Australia and the lives of convicts. Humphrey Bower is a very talented man and reads this story with the utmost conviction, engaging the listener with the various voices and accents with precise accuracy.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ikey Soloman, an intriguing character.


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

    No, but this performance will lead me to look for other books he has read.


    Any additional comments?

    I have really enjoyed this book, and reach for it at every spare and convenient moment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Azusa, US, Canada 08-07-12
    Nancy Azusa, US, Canada 08-07-12 Member Since 2010
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    4
    1
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    "Love Bryce Courtney!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Highly recommend, Bryce Courtney is an amazing story teller, he includes cultural and historical facts that educate you while entertaining you with a great story!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly JACKSON, TN, United States 08-05-12
    Kimberly JACKSON, TN, United States 08-05-12 Member Since 2010

    Kimberly Thornbury, busy working mom and lover of audio books.

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    2
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    Story
    "Long but captivating"

    I enjoyed this book very much. One of the main characters, Mary, was not too saintly to be real, and I feel she is one of the most endearing heroines in literature. These qualities made her horrific trials difficult to listen to and her victories so very sweet. (Great "historical fiction" as well - I learned much about the "Charles Dickens" time period of London.) Excellent ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 08-04-12
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 08-04-12 Member Since 2011

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too depressing..."
    What would have made The Potato Factory better?

    Weren't there any good things to focus on? I felt sick to my stomach and they werent even on the boats yet.


    Any additional comments?

    Bought the trilogy based on the reviews and was hoping for a good read about the history of Australia. Working up the courage to listen to the 2nd book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol 07-30-12
    Carol 07-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    10
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    "potato factory"
    If you could sum up The Potato Factory in three words, what would they be?

    stunning character development


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

    The description of the attack on Mary after she gets a job as clerk is gory and amazing and relates very well the incredible desperation of the times and the baseness which humans can sink in dire situations.


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

    Mary Abacus


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon in Surrey Vancouver, Canada 07-30-12
    Sharon in Surrey Vancouver, Canada 07-30-12 Member Since 2002

    Old Broad with Keyboard

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Slow Start but worth it in the end."
    Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's a slow starter. I almost didn't finish it several times. But, I hung in there anyway. Sometimes it feels like there's too much detail & the beginning is a hard slog.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story grew on me after a while.The language was sometimes shocking, the living conditions horrible & the regard for human life minimal, but I got involved in the lives of Ikey Solomans & Mary Abacus. I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish the book but I had to find out what happened to them. I guess the very authenticity is what kept me listening in the end. And then I ended up buying all three of the novels.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Too many to choose just one.


    Any additional comments?

    A tough listen. This is no love story. Gutter language, sexuality, brutality & filth. But it pertains to the story & most of it's necessary. If you like historical fiction with gritty authentic details, this is the story for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt United States 07-22-12
    Matt United States 07-22-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    5
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    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing Story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version, but the narrator is very skilled he brings to life the full character of Ikey Solomon.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character is Ikey Solomon. The man is a down right scoundrel, but you find yourself rooting for him.


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

    He brings to life all of the characters and really gives a voice to Ikey.


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

    Salt on the Bread


    Any additional comments?

    This book and the later two in the trilogy are definitely worth the time to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael New Canaan, CT, United States 07-21-12
    michael New Canaan, CT, United States 07-21-12 Member Since 2007
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    "First of a GREAT series"

    I am loving all of Bryce's books. As a fellow adman I am jealous and appreciative of his command of storytelling. Nice mix of moral, interest and, of course, all the wonderful Aussie and S. African turns of phrase and expressions. Makes me feel dumbs a box of hair :)

    Humphrey Bower is the new king of narrators.
    He rivals and surpasses in some ways Scott Brick and John Lee.
    Amazing with accents, characters and emphasis

    The Courtenay books are the best I have listened to in years! And I have 2 accounts listening to about 5 a month while super commuting.
    You will love
    Enjoy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lars Durham, NC, United States 07-10-12
    Lars Durham, NC, United States 07-10-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Brilliant Story; Brilliant Narration"

    I really love this book. It became my entry port for all of Bryce Courtenay's novels and also everything narrated by Humphrey Bowers. The former truly knows how to spin a yarn, and the latter how to bring it alive. That there additionally is more than a kernel of truth in "The Australian Trilogy," makes it all so much better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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