If there were an audiobook award for 'best of the year', Bryce Courtney's 'The Potato Factory' would get my vote, hands down. It has everything -- a c..Show More »ompelling story, unforgetable characters, a plot with historical authenticity, and a narrator that can't be beat.
Scholars debate how historically accurate 'The Potato Factory' really is -- I personally knew very little about the founding of Australia, from its penal colony days, but in at least one sense, it doesn't matter. The story succeeds brilliantly, even if it were pure fiction. There is likewise debate about whether the book is anti-semitic -- as a Jew, I can't see any tinge of anti-Jewish feeling. Quite the contrary, in many instances. It's hardly a surprise that there were (and are) Jews of less than sterling character. Ikey Solomon, as portrayed by Courtney, is both lovable and dispicable, fully human and utterly fascinating. A man of his time, in a society that was very different from that which we live in today.
Special congratulations should go to Humphrey Bower, the narrator. Through a truly Dickensian cast of characters (including a cameo from the Boz himself!) from street urchins, to upper class Brits, through every element of British and then exiled-society in Van Damiens Land, men and women, adults and children, Bower does a masterful job of portrayal. Each voice is unique, each rings true. There oughta be Academy Awards for acting jobs like this one!
'The Potato Factory' is actually the first book of a trilogy that Courtney calls his gift to Australia. Having just finished listening to this first installment, I'm now on the hunt for the second and third books -- Audible would be doing an amazing service to its listeners if they also provided the next two. Having experienced the first, I can't imagine not wanting to hear the rest of the story as told by Courtney.
Don't miss this classic tale. "The Potato Factory" has it all -- audiobooks just don't get any better than this.
The narration in this book is wonderful. I became entranced in the many different characters with many different accents. The story was excellent, b..Show More »ut I have to say, as with the Potato Factory, I felt the story just stopped. Although both books pick up where the other left off, I sort of wanted an end of Tommo and Hawk"s story at the end of the book. However, it just gave me more reason to immediatly start the third book, Solomon's Song and find out what happened to the family next.
I enjoyed the first two books for the blending of history and fiction that provided action and great character development. Solomon's Song being the ..Show More »last book of a trilogy, I expected the same action with a conclusion to the tale that started with Ikie. Instead, I was baffled throughout. Why was the author spending so much time on certain specific topics on the last of a trilogy. The ratio of historical data to fiction was tilted way to far to historical detail and absent the good fictional narratives that made the other books so good. I know if you have gotten this far in the series that you have to buy this book so I guess I am just venting. Most seem to enjoy it so I might be the exception. The narration again is exceptional, a savior for this book.