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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choices and consequences in a life revisited
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...
Published on 10 May 2010 by J. Aitken

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pedestrian stroll through 20th century political Europe
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...
Published on 12 July 2010 by Ian Shine


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pedestrian stroll through 20th century political Europe, 12 July 2010
By 
Ian Shine (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (Hardcover)
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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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choices and consequences in a life revisited, 10 May 2010
By 
J. Aitken (Glasgow Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (Hardcover)
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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Felix is force fed a gigantic omelet, 4 July 2010
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (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.

THE BREAKING OF EGGS is the story of a man who discovers late in life that his worldview and the most important decisions of his adulthood have been based on misconceptions, misperceptions, disinformation, misinformation and self-deception. Felix is about to have his basket of eggs force fed to him as an omelet of gargantuan proportions. Can he suck it up and co-exist with the new world order?

Viewing the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent dissolution of the Warsaw Pact from the unflappable serenity of my armchair in the United States, I, and presumably most others from similar vantage points, didn't pause to contemplate the enormous repercussions of those events on people whose lives were tied to the fortunes and political philosophy of the Eastern Bloc nations. As a topic for reflection, then, the plot of author Jim Powell's THE BREAKING OF EGGS is, at least for me, both fresh and winning. While there are no plot twists that would categorize this novel as a "thriller", Felix encounters enough unexpected revelations to severely perturb his post-Cold War state of mind.

This is, apparently, Powell's first published novel, and kudos are due. The characters are engaging and distinctly drawn and the dialogue between them is believable. This is a fine read that's worthy of your consideration about the tragedies, humor and absurdities of politics taken oh so seriously and the human condition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 28 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book, 24 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (Paperback)
A book that I enjoyed very much. Very well written, couldn't lay it down. The main character goes through an amazing development after having been locked up for many decades. Makes you think about your own life and opinions and those of your surroundings. I can recommend the book warmly.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The path of human progress, 10 May 2010
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (Hardcover)
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What is most extraordinary about Jim Powell's novel is not just its ambition, but the modest means through which The Breaking of Eggs covers that vast range of human experience that defines the world we live in today. It's through the simple yet contradictory character of Feliks Zhukovski that Powell finds the perfect perspective to view the modern world, consider how we have arrived there and contemplate where we are likely to go. A 61 year-old man of Polish origin living in Paris in 1991, Feliks has witnessed the seismic changes that have come about after the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the fall of Soviet bloc Communism, but while the world moves on and takes it all in its stride, Feliks finds it much harder to redefine himself and his place within this new world.

Having made a modest living as a travel writer and publisher of a guide to eastern bloc countries, the changes are difficult enough to accept for a man with leftist leanings who was once a member of the Communist party, but with the sudden new interest that there now is in his guides, Feliks also has to consider an offer for them made by an imperialist capitalist business from America. Feliks however takes the opportunity of a meeting to discuss the sale in New York to look for his older half-brother Woodrow, from whom he was separated from during the war. Confronting issues that are antithetical to everything he believes in comes as something of a shock to the system, but the organisation of the trip to America brings to light several revelations about his past that force Feliks, at this late stage in his life, to re-evaluate those former fundamental certainties and ideals that have defined his existence.

Although it deals with coming to terms with the past, in many ways The Breaking of Eggs is more about the world we live in today, taking a look at the bigger picture of the impact of the Second World War and the Cold War, but doing so through small intimate stories of people who lived through the period. Considering the respective positions of life as it is lived in America, in western Europe and in the former Eastern Bloc, each of those personal human experiences is very different, but each of them have come to define who those people are and have consequently shaped the world we see around us today. The novel ambitiously takes in all these perspectives and tries to reconcile them, or at least put them into a context where the distortions of personal experience and blind belief in imperfect ideologies can be reconsidered and put in their rightful place, without diminishing their importance. It may not be possible to build a perfect society without the breaking of some eggs, but it's important that those sacrifices that have been made in flawed attempts are acknowledged and are not allowed to be shamefully hidden away.

It's a consideration of and accommodation with the past that is necessary in order to fully understand who we are now, and where we want to go. The scope of what The Breaking of Eggs covers through the experience and reawakening of Feliks then is vast and incredibly ambitious, but related with the utmost simplicity and delicacy, with genuine consideration for the personal, human experience, it puts into context the extraordinary changes that Europe and we as a people have gone through during and since the war. Through the stories of Feliks, Woody, and of their extended rediscovered family and friends, it's clear that differences remain, but they are not necessarily irreconcilable if we can find a way to live with ourselves and live in the present. It a fine sentiment, and The Breaking of Eggs makes it seem not just idealistic, but essential and possible.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, 11 May 2010
This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (Hardcover)
This is an excellent book. Well written with a strong narrative.

It looks at historical events of Europe since before the second world war from the perspective of a man, his family and his ideology. It is moving, thought provoking, but very readable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth a read!, 11 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (Paperback)
well written; moving story; great insights into Poland during and after the second world war as well as an individual's struggle with truth and fantasy. the possibility of reinventing oneself late in life is encouraging!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking of Eggs, 20 May 2011
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This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (Paperback)
Excellent read.
Very informative although the book is fiction.
The book concentrates on the life of the character,Felix a 60+ year old man living in Paris. It provides an insight into the life of Polish people during the war.
Well written and sensitive. Although at times you can feel quite exasperated with Felix and some of the actions he has taken or chosen not to take during his life!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Breaking of Eggs, 4 May 2011
This review is from: The Breaking of Eggs (Paperback)
A really good read, which held my interest. It is well-told with many moving moments but also with touches of humour.
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The Breaking of Eggs
The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell (Paperback - 17 Mar 2011)
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