Toads' Museum of Freaks and Wonders

Toads' Museum of Freaks and Wonders➸ [Reading] ➺ Toads' Museum of Freaks and Wonders By Goldie Goldbloom ➭ – Set in 1940s Australia The Paperbark Shoe is a remarkable novel about the far reaching repercussions of war the subtle violence of displacement and what it means to live as a captive in enemy country Set in s Australia The Paperbark Shoe of Freaks PDF/EPUB è is a remarkable novel about the far reaching repercussions of war Toads' Museum eBook ½ the subtle violence of displacement and what it means to live as a captive in enemy country and in Museum of Freaks PDF Î one's own skinFrom to eighteen thousand Italian prisoners of war were sent to Australia The Italian surrender that followed the downfall of Mussolini had created a novel circumstance prisoners who theoretically were no longer enemies Many of these exiles were sent to work on isolated farms unguarded The Paperbark Shoe is the unforgettable story of Gin Boyle an albino a classically trained pianist and a woman with a painful past Disavowed by her wealthy stepfather her unlikely savior is the farmer Mr Toad a little man with a taste for women's corsets Together with their two children they weather the hardship of rural life and the mockery of their neighbors But with the arrival of two Italian prisoners of war their lives are turned upside down Thousands of miles from home Antonio and John find themselves on Mr and Mrs Toad's farm exiles in the company of exiles The Paperbark Shoe is a remarkable novel about the far reaching repercussions of war the subtle violence of displacement and what it means to live as a captive in enemy country and in one's own skin Winner of the AWP Award for the Novel The Association of Writers and Writing Programs First published in hardcover as Toads' Museum Of Freaks And Wonders. I did not review this at the time of reading Big mistake This was a very unusual novel for me I remember uietly thinking about the ending for a long time An absolutely mismatched marriage unrealised love in extremely hard times in Australia circa 1940 Very confronting reading but I remember being in awe of this author's writing Another Aussie gem of a book again recommended by my dad This really is a very good read all characters strange and heartbreakingly uniue and a very interesting topic I had never read of the Italian POW's who ended up working very hard on Australian farms I recommend picking up this book if you're up for a challenge Well the cover is so great I figured the insides must be pretty good too I mean that's my favourite shade of blue AND my grandparent's veranda furniture so what's not to like? And the big plus for me was the size of the type I can read it without my glasses on I hear that the editor Georgia is the most lovely person too and that the author thinks she's gorgeous Thinks Georgia is gorgeous not herself “The tin roof of the Italian’s hut flashed like a semaphore at the clouds scudding over the moon smoky white clouds fraying at the edges with deep purple bellies”The Paperbark Shoe is the first novel by West Australian born novelist and short story writer Goldie Goldbloom It won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Fiction in 2008 and the Literary Novel of the Year from the ForeWord Magazine Independent Publishers in 2011 In 1943 Italian Prisoners of War were sent out to work on West Australian farms a welcome source of labour at a time when able bodied men were away at war Antonio and Gianpaolo arrive at Mr Toad’s farm on the Cemetery Road five miles west of Wyalkatchem dressed in their maroon dyed uniforms This remote holding “On one side of us stands the uninhabited coast thousands of rocky miles patrolled by sharks and on the other stands the vast appalling desert of the great red centre studded with the bones of animals and men that have strayed there and melted into the earth” is home to Gin Toad albino prize winning pianist mother of three and two months pregnant; and Toadie known for his collection of women’s corsets Both misfits in society together for reasons that never included love When Antonio flatters Gin with attention and compliments her attention is drawn to Toadie’s shortcomings “I can hear him now his voice so like the croaking of a frog in a bucket his deep sniffs punctuating each sentence” The nature of their marriage irritates her than ever “He never touched me in the daytime in the light that man who ran his hands so tenderly over the horses who touched his nose to their velvet muzzles and murmured to them as he gazed into their eyes He had it in him a capacity for love But he hid it from me” Goldbloom’s plot goes where expected but with a twist Her characters are a breed apart many are uirky all are in some way flawed and while this can be endearing the only truly appealing character in this tale is young Alfie All the rest are selfish some to an appalling degree Her descriptive prose is beautiful and she certainly captures the feel of the West Australian desert and the small town attitudes of the 1940sAn outstanding debut Goldie Goldbloom crafts some striking and original prose which earned her the 2008 AWP Prize for this novel She can also be wickedly funny at the most unexpected moments in the narrative Those moments when her humor sneaks up on you are welcome refreshment in this mostly sorrowful story Simply put this is a story of misfits misfortunes and misunderstandings Gin and Agrippas Toad are misfits by birth she an albino and he well a Toad They're married to each other because they believe no one else will have them After ten years of marriage Gin focuses mostly on her two small children MudseyMaud and Alf Toad occupies himself with his collection of antiue corsetsyes and running the ranch Enter Antonio and John who are misfits by misfortune Italians POWs brought to Australia during WWII to serve as laborers They are sent to work on Toad's remote ranch in Western Australia Long term isolation personality clashes and emotional miscalculations lead to what Gin terms an unholy entanglement among the four adults There's a lot of infidelity of a sexual nature but much destructive are the emotional and intellectual infidelities Goldbloom's writing shines most brightly in her descriptions of the harsh Wyalkatchem landscape its weather and the fragmentary beauty that can be found there in the various seasons She has a lovely feel for atmosphere sharing sounds smells tastes and colors that bring the reader into her world This is a novel most suitable for readers who enjoy beautiful prose for its own sake and don't mind a looser plot construction with the possibility that a lot of uestions will be left unanswered Gin Toad as narrator suffers from some attention deficit myopia and perhaps even a little madness As a result it's somewhat difficult to fully connect with the characters I was left wanting background to understand their motivations for the choices they made or failed to make On balance this is a fine first effort which I give 35 stars Well I thought it was a decent read and definitely fun while it lasted Like many others I wondered what happened to the characters later on in life it'd be something to find out eh? A freakish and wonderful book simply top notch in every way May 24 2011 I'm not uite sure why I've been so lucky to get all these 5 star reads lately but I'm sure not complaining Hell THE PAPERBARK SHOE is one of those books that would be a 10 star if there were oneGoldie Goldbloom's first novel has already won some awards and I can easily see why THE PAPERBARK SHOE is one of the most uniue ie different stories to come down the pike in many years with its protagonist narrator Gin Hoyle Toad an albino woman and classically trained pianist who was discarded into an asylum by an abusive stepfather to be rescued from there by an ugly physically and emotionally flawed outback sheepman and farmer Agrippas ToadThere are so many things about this strange and beautiful novel that appealed to me its remote outback setting in the wheat belt of western Australia is only one And if there were any justice in the literary world this book would be the biggest Aussie bestseller since THE THORN BIRDS And I could certainly see it as a movie too Meryl Streep would have been perfect as Gin Toad the Streep of 20 30 years ago that is The World War II time frame and the forbidden love element with the Italian POWs are other reasons this story is so compelling and un put downable Oh don't get me wrong; this is no Harleuin bodice ripper uite the opposite the grit dirt drought and sometime near grinding poverty of Toad's place is real enough at times to make you want to go take a shower There is kinky sex here too hetero homo and maybe even bisexual but never presented in an offensive manner No Goldbloom manages to pull off these elements of the plot in such a way that you will probably feel only sympathy if not empathy for these twisted emotionally scarred and often desperately unhappy people The book's original title was TOADS' MUSEUM OF FREAKS AND WONDERS which was probably a apt and descriptive moniker if a bit unwieldyAnd the characters are what make this book as good as it is and once again lemme tell ya books don't come much better than this one First and foremost is Gin the albino anti heroine abused misfit brilliant musician bereaved and sometimes reluctant mother wife to an ugly little army reject whose mixed sexual inclinations and kinky habits are often repugnant and finally mistress and runaway Then there is Toad her husband ugly and often cruel but who becomes a curiously sympathetic character by book's end And there is the enigmatic and sweet talking Antonio the Italian POW whose handsomeness and sympathy are too powerful for poor Gin to ignore And the outback itself becomes a character here in its cruel indifference and harsh and unforgiving weather which can starve and kill crops and stock alike and doWhat can I tell you about this book? Maybe only that I was sad to see it end It is that good If you're reading this review then you must enjoy books My advice? DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK Goldie Goldbloom writes like an angel that has been to hell and got to know its denizens and then came back to tell their story THE PAPERBARK SHOE is simply top notch in every way Tim Bazzett author of the memoir BOOKLOVER A MUST READI groped for words to describe Toad’s Museum of Freaks and Wonders Astounding Original Funny Breathtaking Engrossing This was the best I could come up with Goldie Goldbloom’s novel is simply the freshest most absorbing debut I’ve read in years Gin Toad’s life in the Australian outback is a mere existence Years earlier Mr Toad’s proposal of marriage offered her only possible escape from the mental hospital in Perth where she had been confined by her family Dwelling on her husband’s subsistence farm shunned by the locals both for her albinism and her bourgeois sophistication she has long realized her mistake having merely traded one prison for another Abandoning her passion for the piano and any hope for a fulfilling life she steels herself raising her and Toad’s two surviving children even as she mourns for and is haunted by the one that diedThe novel opens in 1943 Gin’s bleak emotional uarantine is breached when the Australian government sends two Italian POWs to serve the Toads as farm labor Antonio banished from the family he loves sets his sights on Gin even as she never having known what it is to be truly desired finds herself overwhelmed by passion for this dark brooding fellow exile Likewise the other POW John evokes in her husband thoughts long repressedIf this sounds like the setup for a vanilla romance novel rest assured that this isn’t that book Goldbloom’s clarity of language her dark humor as well as her gift for plot and character take this book someplace else entirely That this is her debut novel makes it all the extraordinary Gin’s acid soaked narrative voice possesses a revealing intimacy taking us along as she is pulled like a rag doll between despair and hope Her malapropistic husband Toad stout diminutive and a proud collector of women’s corsets stands out as the sort of finely crafted character that will dwell in readers’ minds for a long long time And this is plainly Goldbloom’s gift characters so beautifully written and a setting so vivid that one never feels the shadow of a hovering authorial presence; no I found myself wholly absorbed in her story a place and people superbly rendered and perfectly captivating As with the best fiction the writer of this work turns invisible adding to the magic of the reading experienceIn short Toad’s Museum of Freaks and Wonders is the sort of book you will find yourself buying for friends telling everyone you meet that they have to read wanting desperately to talk about a book in the vein of debuts like Life of Pi and A Fraction of the Whole Yes it is that extraordinary That's four and a half starsI first acuired this book in the middle of last year after it was hyped on Farcebookcom or some such by someone with whom I went to grade school; a relation to the author Had I known that it contained a corset collection AND flirtation lifted from the lines of La Bohème's libretto I would not have waited so long between the purchase and the readingLike some other reviewers I thought the title was an unusual score for America when do book titles ever become better when their books come across to us? Toads' Museum of Freaks and Wonders advertises a show passing by us of spectacular Victorianism or in this case inverted Victorianism? if I steal from E M Forster's description of Ulysses Most original to me was the way in which the Victorians' obsession with collecting stuff of all kinds morbid enough in its own time to be sure inhabits all of the characters in this book and the hoarded and fetishized treasures are reanimated by the author's prose into grotesue and mostly unredeemed afterlives More obvious examples of the nod to the nineteenth c are the tension between the inner life of desire and the self and the outer life of duty; the melodrama of extramarital love and Italian opera; and simply the form of the book as a family drama This is an unhappy family very certainly unhappy in its own way I did feel at times as if I were reading pieces of two different forms a novel of unselfish imagination about persons not the author; and a poem in prose about erotic obsession in a female who could be and most likely occasionally was the author I found the former element exciting if only because narrators obsessed with sex and their bloomin' selves go cheap in contemporary creative writing though rarely with as much originality in the telling as Gin Boyle Toad but each paragraph of the book is executed in a style so untainted by the humdrum sentence structures of the Creative Writing Seminar this was the most excited I have been about a new book in a long timeI hope that a future novel will be set in Perthand I am in awe of one who could write this book while being the mother of any uantity of children greater than zero and I hope the author with or without children has made it to Lyric Opera's Girl of the Golden West This book review was published in the Noosa Today paper 15 June 2017Gin Toad’s life has been shaped by escape From hateful parents to asylum; from asylum to sheep farmer’s wife Gin has traded the possibility of a life with her music for untidy children fetid foot smells and an uncultured husband who reads the dictionary in the dunnyFriendless and isolated she’s lost all hope until 2 Italian prisoners of war begin work at their farm Before long their presence becomes another kind of escape for Gin They may be prisoners from Europe but they speak her language of music and art and beauty Now Gin sees the ultimate escape for herself to flee to Italy with the prisoner Antonio Loved it I fell in love with all the characters; I can't remember a single character whose personality or perspective didn't change throughout the book This book helps build empathy

Toads' Museum of Freaks and Wonders PDF/EPUB ☆
  • Paperback
  • 373 pages
  • Toads' Museum of Freaks and Wonders
  • Goldie Goldbloom
  • English
  • 18 February 2016
  • 9780312674502