Regular price: $34.97

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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)

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,911
  • 4 Stars
    1,282
  • 3 Stars
    397
  • 2 Stars
    142
  • 1 Stars
    138

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,843
  • 4 Stars
    645
  • 3 Stars
    166
  • 2 Stars
    49
  • 1 Stars
    57

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,353
  • 4 Stars
    912
  • 3 Stars
    288
  • 2 Stars
    113
  • 1 Stars
    96
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I loved it!

Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the top 10 of my audio book list so far.

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

The description of the smells

Which scene was your favorite?

Hard to say

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

Impossible!

Any additional comments?

No

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Modern Day Dickens with Dickens as a Character

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".

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jackie
  • United States
  • 06-02-13

Totally enjoyable tale

Would you listen to The Potato Factory again? Why?

I would listen to the book again, however the story is so vivid, that I would need to delay the rehearing.

What other book might you compare The Potato Factory to and why?

The Potato Factory is reminiscent of a Charles Dickinson story.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loved a little history lesson mixed in with a very good "read"

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Oliver Twist---but much better!

Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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".

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

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.

What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

Everything! His accents for the various characters bring the characters to life. His performance is amazing.

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

Yes, I found myself listening to it every moment I could carve free from my schedule.

Any additional comments?

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

An Incredible tale that you don't want to end

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

The weaving of the tale that created Sperm Whale Sally

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

An amazing story teller

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

Ikie Solomon

Any additional comments?

This book moved into my number one position right after The Power of One.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Susan
  • United States
  • 05-28-13

One of the best books I've listened to.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Potato Factory to be better than the print version?

I really did like the narrator's version where he gave voice to the various people in the book.

What did you like best about this story?

I love historical novels and this one was really good.

Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

Sperm Whale Sally

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

Ike Solomon

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tforward
  • EDENTON, NC, United States
  • 05-28-13

History and Fiction interwoven brilliantly

Where does The Potato Factory rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my favorites that blend history and character together

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mary Abacaus- one determined lady who proved she could use her brain as well or better than those who placed obstacles in her path

Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

Izey Soloman-I could visualize him based on the story and the narrators portrayal of him

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

Pretty long, best broken down into sittings for me.

Any additional comments?

Very interesting to learn about the abject poverty faced by many.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • GAYNOR
  • HILTON HEAD ISLAND 29928
  • 05-27-13

Fantastic Book

Story and narration fantastic! Humphrey Bower,s powerful narration really does this wonderful story justice. Highy recommended

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A very colorful book about colourful times

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent for both the history part and the story

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