The Potato Factory

The Potato Factory Ikey Solomon Is In The Business Of Thieving And He S Very Good At It 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

I was born illegitimately in 1933 in South Africa and spent my early childhood years in a small town deep in the heart of the Lebombo mountains.It was a somewhat isolated community and I grew up among farm folk and the African people At the age of five I was sent to a boarding school which might be better described as a combination orphanage and reform school, where I learned to box though less

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  • Paperback
  • 852 pages
  • The Potato Factory
  • Bryce Courtenay
  • English
  • 09 May 2017
  • 9780143004561

10 thoughts on “The Potato Factory

  1. says:

    Bryce Courtenay takes readers on the start of an amazing journey, as he commences a massive trilogy dedicated to his adopted homeland of Australia Weaving through history while using his masterful ability to spin tales, Courtenay offers up his own perspective of how the Land Down Under developed while still under the auspices of the British, populated by their social and criminal outcasts in the early part of the nineteenth century Isaac Ikey Solomon is well known on the streets of London as a forger and counterfeiter like no other While the authorities have him on their radar, they are not yet able to catch him with anything concrete to make an arrest Working alongside him is Ikey s wife, Hannah, whose cutthroat way of thinking has earned her a reputation as well While she enjoys the spoils, she is wary of Ikey, ever the crook, and has made sure to keep a close eye on his antics Sensing this strain, Ikey has allowed his heart and mind be captivated by an unlikely source, the lowly Mary Abacus Klerk, who sought to better herself by using her brains, only to face the wrath of the male population who had other ideas of what a woman should do Mary s determination to better herself, using brains and a sharp wit, earns her Ikey s respect, but also finds her tossed into prison and sent aboard a ship to the far off land of Australia and into a penal colony It is there that Mary comes of age and learns to use her quick mind to help others while laying the groundwork for a sensational business idea Ikey, meanwhile, finds himself in a sting operation and narrowly escapes the clutches of the authorities, while Hannah is two timed and left to suffer at the hands of the constabulary Dodging the noose, she is shipped off to Australia her children coming too which pulls at Ikey s heartstrings, only to have him duped With all three protagonists in Australia now, the story takes an interesting turn, leaving them to battle it out in a part of the world not yet fully rooted and still with a significant stigma Hannah s simmering hatred of both Ikey and Mary comes to the surface, especially after they adopt twin boys who were conceived and born in the oddest of circumstances Now, it is a battle to the end for the Solomon name Courtenay has much to say about these three and offers countless mini tales to pique the curiosity of the attentive reader Those who know and love Bryce Courtenay will likely enjoy this book Its length should not deter the reader, as the storytelling found within will transport anyone on an adventure that could not have been predicted Highly recommended to one and all, as we commence the thorough discovery of Australia and the people who dwell there I fell in love with Courtenay s writing years ago when i discovered his literary exploration of South Africa The writing is second to none and the adventures on which key characters go cannot be matched by many others who call themselves authors Laying the groundwork for these three protagonists has surely helped catapult them into what will be a sensational trilogy Ikey is the slimiest of crooks, though he finds a way to fill his heart will love at the most opportune times The reader will learn much about the man and his business as the story progresses, finding a way to love and hate him in the same breath Hannah has little but a duplicitous nature to offer anyone, but she is determined to make life better for her children and punish the man who put her into such legal turmoil She plots throughout, hoping to outmaneuver her husband with each scheme and see him perish, no matter the cost Mary takes the show in this book, which portrays her as downcast and perhaps the least rooted, though her passion to make something out of the little she has is a driving force in the narrative The story itself is complex and takes many a turn, as one would expect of a Courtenay piece, though each tidbit finds its way into the larger narrative This being the first of the trilogy, scraps and crumbs dropped here could have significance later, forcing the reader to pay close attention Much has been made of some of the descriptions and language Courtenay uses throughout this piece, so much so that the author addresses it in the preface Anti Semitic acts and language was commonplace, paired with a strong push to isolate the Jews, even as far back as the 1820s in England In order to tell the story as truthfully as possible, Courtenay uses these themes to develop his narrative and peppers the dialogue with derogatory sentiments While I am the second Courtenay being the first to decry racist language, one cannot divorce the way characters speak from the time in which they are living Some will call the book racist or pig headed no pun intended , but it is for those whose naivet drives them that this book was penned As Courtenay is no longer with us, let us take his writing and allow it to speak volumes for the passion he has for people, his homeland, and his Australia Kudos, Mr Courtenay, for making me proud to call myself a fan While you have passed on, I feel your books will live on forever and could be called classics, as generations can learn of the world that was from the perspective you offer This book serves to complete Topic 1 Delicious Reading of the Equinox 4 Reading Challenge.Love hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge

  2. says:

    Holy hell This is one damn good book Bryce Courtenay still amazes me in his level of research comparable to only authors such as Diana Gabaldon and Jack Whyte It deals with the populating of the British colonies in Australia, Tasmaina, and New Zealand While the accuracy of detail is impeccable, his skill as a storyteller is what keeps me hooked on ordering his books from Australia Good God, I hope this man lives forever and keeps writing Thank goodness that it is one book in a series of 3 I was devastated by the end of Peekay s story in South Africa but being shipped from England s slums to Tasmania for the past few months has been a journey never to forget Definately a keeper on my favorites shelves

  3. says:

    I read this as a download from Humphrey Bower is an exceptional narrator effortlessly giving each character their own distinct voice I was enthralled with Courtenay s writing and Bower s narration I don t know if I d give it five stars as a print book or not, but I recommend it as an audible book to anyone.

  4. says:

    donated to CCU 30 10 2014review finally.Ikey Solomon and his partner in crime, Mary Abacus, 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 builds The Potato Factory a brewery, where she plans a new future But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey s wife, Hannah, her old enemy As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.The characters Ikey, Mary and Hannah Ikey s wife were documented real people some of the other characters in Tasmania are based on real historical people Although Ikey s character is partially based on Fagin from Dicken s Oliver Twist it s interesting just how much Courtenay has borrowed of Dicken s Twist to flesh out Ikey s London years particularly with his apprentice thieves This is the first Courtneay book I ve read It s faced paced generally and keeps you hooked though a few chapters here and there dragged although interesting possibly historically close to actual reality of the early whalers, the point was long in coming eg the chapter about Blue Whale Sally Here and there I was annoyed at some of Courtenay s descriptions of our particular Australian things such as daub and wattle huts They felt like they were lifted out of the wikipedia, awkward and jarring compared to the dialogue This may be because Courtneay is not Australian, Or felt the international reader needed that type of stilted information Normally when I come across a term or phrase I am not familiar with in a book I look it up myselfI don t need the author to give an encyclopedic explanation midstream that only works if two characters are speaking or there is a constant omnipresent narrator which I don t feel is present here a glossary at the end is acceptable My other complaint is while Ikey is mostly billed as the main character, when he dies 3 4 way through, it s announced in a letter and the reader is wondering how and while there are two books in this series following this one, it seems odd he is so suddenly out of the picture The real heroine of the book is Mary in my opinion, and it is she who achieves some greatness transformation in the course of the story I felt for her from the beginning, while Ikey was a little harder to understand, though I came to love him too with his penchant for liking many pockets in his coats Those who have no knowledge of convict times in Australia will find the conditions punishments harsh While I ve read accounts before of conditions on the transport ships and of the lashings, beatings and meagre food rations and the inhumanity of The Female Factory orphans, it still shocks me Makes you wonder sometimes how our Aussie psyche evolved into a she ll be right mate attitude There are several good quotes in the book, two I listed below if I have time will find the others wireless router problemsreview laterScore 50c today op shop find.There was an Australian mini series made of this book with Lisa McClune which I missed probably for the better since many down under mini series end up seeming the same, particular period ones When the poor embrace the tenants of morality it comes ready made with misery as it s constant companion it is not the nature of things to remain calm Contentment is always a summer to be counted in brief snatches of sunlight while unhappiness is an endless winter season of dark and stormy weather.loaned to pop

  5. says:

    The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtnay.This excellent novel sat on my bookshelf for some months before I finally got around to reading it I am not sure why, perhaps it was the title that did not strike the right cords I even picked it up a couple of times, but dismissed it What an oversight that was The Potato Factory is a journey back in time to Dickensian London and all the filth and squalor that inspired Charles Dickens to pen his many novels, and in particular Oliver Twist.Although written as a work of fiction, the author chose this route to publication only as a method of filling out the bare facts as recorded in historical periodicals of the time, both here and in Van Demons Land As a work of fiction he was also afforded the luxury of adding some excellent dialogue.The central character in this true tale is Ikey Solomon whom most readers will recognise as Fagan from Oliver Twist This was no coincidence, as he was the inspiration behind this well known classic, as were many other colourful characters, such as Sparrow Fart The Artful Dodger, and Bob Marley Bill Sykes Other Characters include Sperm Whale Sally and Billygonequeer Charles Dickens himself is reputed to have interview Sparrow Fart in his capacity as a young reporter after the well documented escape from Newgate prison and trial of Ikey Solomon at the old bailey.With such a cast this is a hard book to put down In a society where petty criminals could be hanged or transported for merely picking a pocket, or prostitution, the reader will cringe at the cruelty and hypocrisy of the so called law and aristocracy.The second half of this book is set in Van Demons Land Now Tasmania, but to find out how our immigrants fare you are just going to have to read it for yourself.Fascinating in its detail of real characters and actual events, and consuming in its prose The Potato Factory.

  6. says:

    I m a bit undecided with The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay Yes, there s no doubt that Bryce Courtenay is a great writer He has the ability to make you believe that you are experiencing the same things with the characters whether its in the streets of 19th century London or the colonial outpost that was Van Damien Island and even projecting sympathy towards the lowest scums of English society Also, the way he sets up the background of the story is nothing short of perfect, you know each detail has been meticulously researched it was almost like I was reading a very interesting history book about how people lived in that time I was there, I bought the story however after the first quarter of the novel I started to have an ominous feeling that I wasn t going to love this book Boredom came first Courtenay tended to repeat and rattle on about unnecessary facts explaining every minute detail Although at times it is interesting, it does get annoying after a while hence the next dilemma I started to get annoyed that the story was never going to finish because it kept diverting into these other random facts and story lines There was a point that I really felt that I was reading a completely different book I understand that there was a next chapter to the story however I believe that Courtenay should have just finished telling the story between Ikey, Mary and Hannah before he dives into the next book Further, the ending seemed abrupt and rushed like he realised he run out of time or any paper.Although the next book does seem interesting, the book was a disappointment especially since it had so much potential in the beginning.

  7. says:

    This is Historical Fiction and I ve had this in my audio library for quite some time I ll first say that the narration was wonderfully done When that happens, it adds to the enjoyment.I liked this I liked that it fully covered the same characters for decades I felt like I really got to know them Even when they weren t particularly likable, I felt I understood them and their actions I liked the way the the author took opportunities to torture his characters They really were so tortured, but yet he d balance it out with hope or triumph That ebbed and flowed seamlessly throughout the story.This was a solid 4 stars for me At times it was heavy on the narrative, which isn t a plus in my book, but it worked here I noticed it it just wasn t irksome I also wanted info because I had questions that went unanswered Especially with the relationship details between Mary and Ikey Some of that was too vague Overall, I still enjoyed this, so 4 stars.

  8. says:

    First I loved this book After starting it on vacation it was the only book at the rental home on the beach where we were I had to find the others in this series The storyline was so fascinating to me as a look into the lives of the poor and downtrodden prisoners sent from Britain to Australia Because of the people involved the language is very course and I wouldn t recommend it to people who are offended by such I don t believe it is filthy for the sake of filth, but if this were a movie it would be R for sure For me it was almost like reading in another language, a vernacular of our own, but even though I can t stand to watch movies with lots of swearing, this book didn t bother me Not sure why, but it just seemed raw and true I was enthralled with the lives of the characters and the human trials they endured.

  9. says:

    Loved this book This is now the 3rd book I have read by the author and I plan to read The first I had read was The Power of One which is a truly marvelous book, after that I read The Persimmon Tree which was a slow and plodding disappointment to me And so I came to this book on my Kindle and had no idea what to expect What I got was a book that held my rapt attention, a book that was a super fast and interesting read, a book that includes two characters that also appear in Charles Dickens book Oliver Twist, and a whole lot of really great history on England, the British legal and penal systen, and Van Diemen s Land, which is now known as Tasmania.We follow the fortunes of Ikey Solomon Fagin , a young street urchin in London The Artful Dodger , Bob Marley, Ikey s estranged and vengeful wife Hannah and her children, Mary Abacas who is truly Ikey s love of his life and who turns from prostitute to business woman when her fortunes turn, and one of the great characters I have ever come across who is eventually known as Sperm Whale Sally This is an eventful book that follows the fortunes and misfortunes of Ikey and how he gets in and out of trouble, along with the journey of Mary who is a mathematical whiz with the device that gives her her last name We follow them through all sorts of adventures in London and then when they all eventually are banished to the penal colony of Van Diemen s Land, and how this trio act and sometimes interact on the island It is a wonderful read and is the first of a trilogy, the second being Tommo and Hawk, and for me this was a wonderful and enjoyable read.

  10. says:

    Big, brash and epic, The Potato Factory takes us back to early 19th century London and to the early years of England s penal settlement in Tasmania, Van Diemen s Land This is the London of Charles Dickens, gritty with poverty, violence, brutality and crime, much of which we come to see, gets exported to Australia The Potato Factory is Courtenays fictionalized history of Ikey Solomon, his wife Anna and his erstwhile mistress and business partner, Mary Ikey is a London Jew, a master fence , crafty, despicable and the likely inspiration for Dicken s Fagin in Oliver Twist Ikey s schemes and machinations eventually catch up with him, and he, and separately Anna and Mary, get transported to Van Diemen s Land.This story, whether completely true or not, is a powerful tale of social injustice and greed and of our ability to overcome this It is also a lush and vivid portrait of this time in English and Australian history, lovingly researched and clearly Courtenay s homage to the grit and determination that characterized the European settlement of Down Under The characters are all richly textured and memorable, truly Dickensian, and the story line, with its plot twists and intrigues, is an emotional roller coaster of a ride The Potato Factory is story telling at its best.And I cannot finish without giving another strong plug for the audiobook, narrated by Humphrey Bower His voicings and narration bring a life to this story that is truly amazing The Potato Factory is 4 star book, that I will easily round up to 5, and the performance by Mr Bower, 5 stars.

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