Sunday, July 27, 2014

"The Family Frying Pan" by Bryce Courtenay

I borrowed this audio book from the local library and listened to all 7 CDs over the course of the weekend. I really enjoyed it...and think I may even have appreciated it more as an audio book than if I had tried to read it myself, as the narrators did such a great job of bringing the characters voices to life, complete with Russian accents.

This is really a collection of short stories that are all woven together, and although I generally am not a huge fan of short stories, I really enjoyed this book and the way the different short stories all linked into the overarching story. The book follows a group of refugees trying to escape Russia during the time of Tsar Nicholas II, fleeing for different reasons and united only by chance and circumstances on the road. Each night when they gather around the fire and cook up whatever scraps they have managed to gather during the day for their meagre meal they take turns sharing their stories of their past lives and how they ended up where they are now. It's often heartbreakingly sad, but some of the stories are full of beauty and capture the very best as well as the worst of human nature. For anyone who has read it, the story of Cleopatra's cat is one of my favourites. Apart from enjoying listening to this tale, I also learned little snippets of interesting Russian history. I really like novels that have some aspects of truth and history embedded in them as it makes the stories more realistic and I also learn something at the same time. Bryce Courtenay's books always seem to be very well researched and full of little details from history... I don't think I've ever read a bad book by Bryce Courtenay and this was not an exception.

Started listening: 26th July 2014
Finished: 27th July 2014
My score: 8/10
Aussie Author Challenge stats: Male author, Fiction, Short (linked) stories, historical fiction.

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