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The Toymaker af Liam Pieper
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The Toymaker (udgave 2016)

af Liam Pieper

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
243758,775 (3.28)2
Adam Kulakov likes his life. He's on the right side of middle age; the toy company he owns brightens the lives of millions of children around the world; and he has more money than he can ever spend, a wife and child he adores, and as many mistresses as he can reasonably hide from them. And he is not the only one with secrets. In 1944, Adam's grandfather, Arkady, was imprisoned in Auschwitz and given an impossible choice. Now, as he reaches the end of his life, he has to keep the truth from his family, and hold back the crushing memories of his time with one of history's greatest monsters.… (mere)
Medlem:adam.currey
Titel:The Toymaker
Forfattere:Liam Pieper
Info:Penguin Books Australia
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek, Fiction
Vurdering:**1/2
Nøgleord:fiction, ReadIn2020

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The Toymaker af Liam Pieper

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This is one of the best books I’ve read. My criteria for a “best”: great writing that weaves a web that entices the reader; a plot that moves apace; and multi-dimensional characters and events that invoke thought long after the book is completed. Liam Pieper ticks each of those boxes.

It’s a family drama, a Holocaust story and literary novel. All in about 80k words. It’s tightly structured, the writing taut and there’s an unpredictable twist.

Arkady is the toymaker who makes a new post-war life for himself in Australia. He creates a toy-making business and makes a lot of money. His grandson, Adam, runs the business with the increasing help of his wife, Tess. Tess is much closer to Arkady than Adam whose narcissistic nature precludes emotional closeness to anyone.

Problems start for Adam in the first few pages that will have you gripped. These problems are of his making and threaten everything his grandfather has created. The action moves seamlessly from present-day Melbourne, Australia, to a Second World War death camp. Some of the death camp scenes are hard to read. Arkady was forced to be involved in the Nazi’s horrific medical experiments. Pieper’s handling of this is far from gratuitous; he’s just telling us what it was like.

When Tess discovers someone is defrauding the company she enlists Arkady’s help. But dementia’s onset diminishes his ability to find the culprit. His dementia-induced outbursts are uncomfortable and real.

I’m looking forward to reading The Toymaker again. I am sure I will get more out of it next time. There are few books about which you say that. ( )
  Neil_333 | Mar 6, 2020 |
(6.5) ( )
  HelenBaker | Jan 12, 2017 |
I did not like this book. Not at all.

The Toy Maker is the first novel of Liam Pieper, a freelance journalist from Melbourne. It has been reviewed in The Australian and The Saturday Paper and the SMH so it doesn’t need any additional publicity from me and I will keep this brief.

Its crude language and sleazy beginning put me in mind of the unpleasant characters in Christos Tsolkias’s The Slap and the juxtaposition of the contemporary story strand with Grandfather Arkady’s survival of the Holocaust was grotesque.

There is a claustrophobic palette of characters, none of whom have any redeeming features. Adam Kulakov is a middle-aged businessman with a penchant for schoolgirls. His wife Tess works for him and discovers irregularities in the toy factory’s books. There is a child called Kade whose only role is to road-test the toys.

Tess, who has no friends, no other life than the child and the factory, has a close relationship with Grandfather Arkady. Her husband is busy outsourcing the manufacture of the toys to developing countries with dubious working conditions so that he can get enough money to pay a blackmailer.

The Holocaust thread seems gratuitous to me, an opportunity to revisit some sickening scenes for material for Arkady’s ‘secret’. It contributes nothing new, and there is no exploration of redemption.

The Toy Maker is a shallow book, and it was not worth my time.

Young Australian author Amy Matthews shows that it is possible for new generations to write sensitively about the Holocaust in her novel End of the Night Girl. But it is not ever a topic to be undertaken lightly… ( )
1 stem anzlitlovers | Sep 1, 2016 |
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Adam Kulakov likes his life. He's on the right side of middle age; the toy company he owns brightens the lives of millions of children around the world; and he has more money than he can ever spend, a wife and child he adores, and as many mistresses as he can reasonably hide from them. And he is not the only one with secrets. In 1944, Adam's grandfather, Arkady, was imprisoned in Auschwitz and given an impossible choice. Now, as he reaches the end of his life, he has to keep the truth from his family, and hold back the crushing memories of his time with one of history's greatest monsters.

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