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The Breaking of Eggs Hardcover – 11 Mar 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 1st edition (11 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297859692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297859697
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,024,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Surprisingly warm and very witty (STYLIST)

"fluent, unusual (Lesley Chamberlain TLS)

An ambitious, powerful and funny work, taking the reader through 20th-centruy history and the human psyche (THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

A panoramic debut about love and loss, people and politics, THE BREAKING OF EGGS announces a major new talent

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4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ian Shine VINE VOICE on 12 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The story of this book is that of an expatriate Pole coming to terms with the end of communism. It plods along at a fairly pedestrian pace, flagging up any plot twists long before they happen, making the life-changing sequence of events that happen to the protagonist after the fall of the Berlin wall seem ridiculous and unlikely.
I found the first three quarters of the book to be a somewhat monochrome look at the protagonist's coming to terms with these changes. The characters lack distinctive voices, the narrator fails to excite, and it all plods along without really exciting the reader. In the final quarter of the book things start to come to life as the human elements collide, creating the kind of crashing, chaotic ground-shifting atmosphere and narrative that the rest of the book aspired to and would have benefited from.
The protagonist's reflections on politics, truth, love and life and how 20th century Europeans developed their perspectives on all of these things move to another level for this final quarter, elevating the book and making the trawl through the previous 200-odd pages worthwhile.
It will be of interest to anyone intrigued by the political upheavals in Europe after World War II and beyond the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in how those who played a part in supporting now-undermined political systems came to terms with their demolition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 July 2010
Format: Paperback
"One can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." - attributed to (among others) Lenin, Napoleon and Robespierre. Well, to whomever.

"I grew up in an age of mass movements ... and it was a question only of which one to choose, and you chose the one that most opposed the ones you did not wish to choose." - Felix Zhukovski

Born in Poland, 9-year old Felix Zhukovski, the protagonist of THE BREAKING OF EGGS, was sent by his mother, with his older brother Woodrow - named after the former U.S. President - to live with their aunt in Basel, Switzerland a week before the Nazi invasion in September 1939. Woodrow soon left to join the French Resistance. Felix has not discovered the whereabouts of his mother, or attempted to contact his brother, since.

Now, it's 1991 and Felix is 61 and has been living in the same Paris apartment for thirty-six years. Almost his entire life, he's been a committed communist, though his own term for his political stance is "leftist." Felix despises capitalism and the United States, where his brother has long since gone to live. Zhukovski's spiritual home is the Eastern Bloc, and he makes an annual tour of its member countries to research and update a travel guide he authors and publishes for the benefit of those few Westerners visiting the nations on the far side of the Iron Curtain.

In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and Eastern Europe changed drastically - so much so that Felix can't keep up with the changes in his book. Then, a New York publisher - one of those detested Americans - offers to buy him out.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Aitken VINE VOICE on 10 May 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The choices people make and their consequences form the bedrock from which is carved this poignant and absorbing novel. Feliks Zhukovski is 61, lives in Paris, having for many years spent his time travelling in the eastern bloc and writing a guide book for those who wished and were allowed to visit there. A staunch left winger in political terms, he believes in the communist ideal and promulgates it within his guide. However, when circumstances force a sale of the rights to his publication,his past unfolds and unravels as he discovers many truths that he believed in both political and personal are hollow and empty. He is forced to confront many people who have shaped wittingly or not his adult life and in doing so his perceptions change.

This journey is both sad and uplifting by turns and proved an outstanding read. This story is fiction, but could so easily be mirrored in the real lives of countless others. I found Jim Powell a fine and distinctive voice, bringing this story to life, and I recommend it very highly indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr R J WEBB on 28 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Breaking of Eggs is one of the best novels I've read, ever! In time I'm sure it will be regarded as a classic and go on to be among those which feature on every prescribed pre Uni reading list.
Jim Powell's an historian but was previously an advertising exec; he combines the skills and traits of both in a sensitive understanding of the fall of the iron curtain and some peoples' fear of change. He has a superb ability to describe both male AND female responses and emotions to forced change. He develops the personality of each of his characters with much insight and he builds the chronolgy of their revelations in a structured way, which however hit at the core of the principal narrator in a rich catharsis.
Its not just a flowing modern historical novel, nor a thriller, nor a love story, nor a psychological study BUT a wonderful combination of all four.
I've recommended it to loads of family and friends - they all have the same appraisal!
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