Friday, February 28, 2014

The Paperbark Shoe by Goldie Goldbloom

'I reckon they could be like that. They swore to Mussolini to kill us all." 

The Paperbark Shoe by Goldie Goldbloom

~~~Posted for The Friday 56, which is hosted by Freda's Voice

Title: The Paperbark Shoe
Author: Goldie Goldbloom

ISBN: 9780312674502
Publisher: Picador/2011
Pages: 370

Gin Boyle is born in a fairly rich family. Although she is a classical pianist but being an albino, she is institutionalized by her cruel and abusive stepfather. Agrippas Toad is a dwarf. He is a farmer . He happens to hear her play the piano and asks to marries her. Knowing that there won't be any other offer, Gin agrees. There is no love between the two but there is no alternative either. 

Now enter two Italian prisoners of war – Antonio and John into their farm. These two are a part of a wave of 18,000 Italian prisoners of war sent to work on isolated Australian farms between 1941 and 1947. Antonio lavishes attention on her and Gin is attracted to him, who is a shoemaker. He measures her feet to make shoes for her from paperbark. Toad too has some kind of affinity for John. 

Gin is not happy with her lot is an understatement. Toad too is freak and he has a penchant of collecting ladies corsets. The displacement is not only the displacement of the soldiers. It is about those who have been isolated for whatsoever reasons. It might be by physical deformity, by belief or because of war between countries. Irrespective of class, culture, races everyone seeks love in one way or other. Gin and Toad are no different. 

The prose is beautiful with terrific description of the place and the pain of displacement is brought forth is a wonderful manner. The ultimate realization of what we truly want too is has been shown in the end very beautifully. The book has flaws but that only enhances the theme, the story. I will not call it an easy read but why reading has to be easy?


Vonnie said...

Spies and Mussolini sure grabbed my attention.

My Post

Juli Rahel said...

The summary sounded so absurd that it really made me want to read the book! I'm gonna have to put it on my TBR pile! Thanks for sharing :) I hope you have a great weekend

My Friday Post

Juli @ Universe in Words

Cheryl said...

Just like Juli, I was drawn in by the summary. Sounds like a fascinating story.

Hope you'll visit today at

Unknown said...

I am just fascinated with all things WWII so I am going to have to check this one out. What a great share!


Sandra Nachlinger said...

Sounds like the book is filled with interesting characters and plenty of conflict. I'm intrigued.
Thank you for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment on my WILD post.

Yvonne said...

This sounds like an excellent book!

fredamans said...

Very intriguing 56!
I think I would like Toad a lot.

Happy weekend!

LadyD Piano said...

An albino pianist... wow, this is so interesting and sounds very complex!

Bea said...

It definitely sounds like a difficult read. I'd have to be in the right mood for it I think.

Ricki Treleaven said...

That's an intense Friday 56! :D

LOL I agree with what Juli said….


Anna said...

This sounds right up my alley!