The Paperbark Shoe

The Paperbark Shoe

Book - 2011
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Winner of the 2008 AWP Award for the Novel

From 1941 to 1947, 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.

Publisher: New York : Picador, 2011.
Edition: 1st PicadorU.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780312674502
0312674503
Branch Call Number: FIC/GOLDBLOOM
Characteristics: 373 p. ; 21 cm.

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c
cstdenis45
Jan 20, 2013

I loved this book! I thought it was unique in its perspective of the 2nd world war. I had no idea about the Italian POWs in Austrailia. I loved that the main character struggled with the predjudices associated with her condition, her constant struggle to be accepted and loved, and also her struggle to give love to those that should be most important to her.

a
aprilspringday
Oct 09, 2012

Disjointed, depressing, and haunting. I can't think of one redeeming quality of this book. I am sorry I read it all the way through. I naively thought it had to get better. The protagonist is the most unlikable and unlovable character; it's hard to see what "he" sees in her. The story is told in little vignettes, little nuggets, each a sharp, bitter mouthful of pain and despair, which the reader must dutifully swallow for 300 pages. The dreadful foreshadowing should have been a big enough warning for me, and I should have abandoned this work. However, all this said, I cannot say this book didn't have an impact on me-- it left me in a deep funk.

a
aprilspringday
Oct 09, 2012

Disjointed, depressing, and haunting. I can't think of one redeeming quality of this book. I am sorry I read it all the way through. I naively thought it had to get better. The protagonist is the most unlikable and unlovable character; it's hard to see what "he" sees in her. The story is told in little vignettes, little nuggets, each a sharp, bitter mouthful of pain and despair, which the reader must dutifully swallow for 300 pages. The dreadful foreshadowing should have been a big enough warning for me, and I should have abandoned this work. However, all this said, I cannot say this book didn't have an impact on me-- it left me in a deep funk.

Algonquin_Lisa Apr 26, 2011

From Amazon: 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.

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Algonquin_Lisa Apr 26, 2011

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.

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