- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 16 hours and 41 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 14 Sept. 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009AX2T5M
The Potter's Hand Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Wilson's approach is a broad one, following a number of sub-plots throughout the book. Indeed, poor old Josiah often seems to float around on the edge of his own story for much of the book as Wilson concentrates on his nephew, Tom Byerley, who would run the family business after the period of this novel, and the entirely fictional characters of Caleb and Heffie Bowers and Blue Squirrel, a Cherokee girl that Tom meets while seeking to negotiate the supply of American kaolin to meet the order for the Catherine the Great. Also central to the book is Wedgwood's oldest daughter, Sukey, whose later children included Charles Darwin.
The result is a novel of ideas ranging from colonialism, slavery, the welfare of workers, class, religious belief, industrialisation and, with Charles Darwin's grandfather, the lecherous old Dr Darwin as the family doctor, early thoughts on evolution.Read more ›
The overuse of local dialect was an irritant, some folk out there will have difficulty in understanding it fully.
I know it was written in modern times, but the use of the "F" word and the rather poorly described sex scenes were wholly unnecessary.
The interludes where the action jumped forwards 20 years made it all the more confusing.
On the positive side it gave a good account of the man Josiah Wedgwood and the spirit of the age.
This is a splendid story, huge in its scope, which improves the understanding of the age while giving insight into the principal characters. This was the Age of Reason, and also the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. Both are well-presented and explained in this fine book. Some readers may find the absence of speech marks, or the strong Staffordshire accent, distracting, but these are minor quibbles in a major work. More important is the fine writing. For example, at the death of one of Josiah’s many children, Sukey takes up her Oboe:
‘The reedy oboe’s voice, a sad deep-throated bird, filled the silent house ..... Words could not have lifted them. The oboe skipped, sang, led onwards all who heard it with sounds which did not give hope, but which defied despair.’ Great stuff.
Ostensibly it follows Josiah Wedgewood from his formative years right up to his death, but it's main focus are the years after his marriage to Sally. The other principle characters are their daughter Sukey, nephew Tom Bryerly, a Cherokee Indian (A woman Tom met whilst on a mission to procure white clay for his uncle) and Caleb Bowers, a childhood friend of Josiah's.
The plot of the novel is short but exceptionally broad, taking in many of the important players of the Industrial Revolution. The tumultuous history of the time dovetails seamlessly with the novel. The American War of Independence, abolition of slavery, even the French Revolution butt up against The Potter's Hand, which sits in the middle, offering a lens on them all. At the centre of the novel is Josiah Wedgewood, lynchpin of so many deeds and events.
There were times when the sheer volume of characters and the depth of detail threatened to overwhelm me. Where was the story? The book felt not so much a novel but a fictionalised biography of Josiah Wedgewood. Snapshots placed in chronological order. Immensely detailed snapshots, but ultimately just pictures without an overriding story arc. If it hadn't been for the extra interest generated by my knowledge and relation by marriage to the area, I may have given up.
Had I done so I would have missed out.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a really excellent story of Josiah Wedgwood and his family. Very enjoyable.Published 2 months ago by Rosebeth
As a woman who studied little history and loves a good story I found this book absolutely excellent. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ms.M E Westbrook
Seems as if written by a collective! Each chapter seems a different style and I really disliked the idea of hijacking someone's life to create a story. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bean
Very interesting and full of topical facts.as well as A N Wilson making into a good storyPublished 13 months ago by joanna hobson
Boring, over-written, ludicrous and contrived element involving a native American woman. 18th century from a 21st century viewpointPublished 15 months ago by sussals
I really struggled with this book. I was keen on the subject matter but I honestly nearly gave up several times; certainly not a light read. Read morePublished 16 months ago by LadyS
Although this is "fiction" A N Wilson has knack of giving you the real person and real historical moment behind his invention. Read morePublished 17 months ago by james john