The Breaking of Eggs


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KIRKUS REVIEW

Serviceably written. But no moments where I wanted to savor the words. At times it felt like a thinly disguised political screed. Way too many repetitive interior mullings by the principal character, Feliks. Plot was fascinating, if a bit contrived. All in all an entertaining read, but not a great one.

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View 1 comment. Jul 27, Daisy rated it it was amazing Recommended to Daisy by: Shelfawareness. Shelves: ddr , eastern-europe , ny , favorites-2nd-place , france , poland , switzerland , berlin-read-summer , berlin. This book has been on the top of a stack of books I pass every day many times over the past few years.


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Its cover is so familiar that I almost can't separate what I thought it would be from what it turned out to be. Coincidentally, that's one of the themes of this novel as well. Now, it's not that I wish I had gotten to this sooner; it's that I hope every other as-yet unread book on my shelves will fulfill me as well as this one. There is a lot to think about in this book.

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I wondered so much about what I should have known, and when I should have known it. I was not certain how one went about the business of embracing chaos, but perhaps predictability needed to be the first casualty of the process. Apr 17, Maya Panika rated it it was ok. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Though an intriguing and original story, I found The Breaking of Eggs lacking in depth.

The characters felt two dimensional, they seemed like constructs created to carry an idea, rather than the other way around, none of them talk like real people, none of them worked for me. I sort-of understand him wanting to wound Felix though his aversion to the man feels very badly handled, it never really rings true but to his good Though an intriguing and original story, I found The Breaking of Eggs lacking in depth.

It seems unusually cruel to the poor old lady too, his actions leave her trapped in the Eastern Bloc Rene purports to loathe. Why does Felix like Rene? It makes NO sense. The story is full of these irritating holes and by the last third of the book they were making me very irritable.

View all 3 comments. I guess you could call my slightly lower rating than usual the disappointment that came with incorrect expectations of what I was actually reading - whenever a book cover blurb claims the work is "funny but touching" it is really trying to disguise often the idea that some people won't read serious fiction unless they're pushed to. People like me that is, who after reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz temporarily had a love affair with late 20th Century themed nostalgia I guess you could call my slightly lower rating than usual the disappointment that came with incorrect expectations of what I was actually reading - whenever a book cover blurb claims the work is "funny but touching" it is really trying to disguise often the idea that some people won't read serious fiction unless they're pushed to.

People like me that is, who after reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz temporarily had a love affair with late 20th Century themed nostalgia novels based on the idea of families affected by the tribulations of dictatorships and wars in countries some people can't even locate on a map.

The theme of The Breaking of Eggs is the central premise that the fascist and communist regimes a man and his brother lived under respectively were viewed as justified since "you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs" - that is to say totalitarian regimes view the suffering of the people as beneficial to the greater good. And here I was expecting a Goodbye Lenin! Feliks is a bitter old man whose life's work is a travel guide to the Soviet Union, which is utterly useless now that the Soviet Union no longer exists.

He is reunited with his brother who gives him hope of meeting his mother again and the lost love he had during the war. It breaks my heart to snob legitimate contemporary literature about the experiences of 20th Century fascist regime victims, but I think the main problem with the genre of this kind of fiction is that these types of stories have little to no joy in them, and while they are important they shouldn't be marketed under the label "touching but funny". My God did I feel like I was hit by a ton of bricks made from chunks of the Berlin Wall that my autistic brain couldn't begin to make sense of all at once.

The reason why The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao worked as a critique of these sort of dictatorships is that there's hope represented by youthful protagonists who aim to achieve victory over the utter misery of their ancestor's pasts. The main character in this book, Feliks, to me as a young person was unrelatable in every way, and came off as an embattled old man who didn't really see any hope in any aspect of his daily life. There's multiple descriptions of rape in this in terms of what happened to the women of Poland from both the Nazis and the Russians, but to lump all this misery and anguish on the reader at once without a single hint of hoping for the better - that's where this book lost me.

I wasn't expecting this from a book which lied to me on the blurb that told me it was "touching but funny" - and believe me I wanted to believe it but JESUS, even Welcome to the NHK was more "touching but funny" than this, and that's about horribly mentally unstable people who are at times suicidal!

Jim Powell’s debut novel The Breaking Of Eggs shows ambition

I guess I was just given something I thought was completely different to what I got. May 03, Susan rated it liked it Shelves: europaeuropa , what-is-life. Three point five. I appreciated what the author was trying to do here, though the overall effect was marred because several of the key characters lacked credibility. The central character is clueless, befuddled, insular, and rigid in nearly all his attitudes toward life and his fellow humans.

When the Berlin Wall comes down, it sets in motion events that force him to undertake some much-needed soul-searching. The plot is intriguing and deftly-handled, for the most part.

Summary and reviews of The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell

Seriously, he never realized why his mother hustled him and his older brother out of Poland and off to Switzerland in late August, ? And both brothers had almost no problem forgiving a truly reprehensible act committed by Rene, the elder's French Resistance brother-in-arms? Sorry, but though Rene was a convenient and somewhat interesting character, I didn't buy his flimsy excuse for not trying harder to reunite the far-flung members of the Zhukovski family in the 's.

Feliks went through life as a blockhead who was blind to the reality of life behind the Iron Curtain. Yes, Feliks's obtuse nature is a necessary starting point in the novel, and his development into a somewhat normal human being is the purpose of the entire narrative. But he's already 61 on the first page, a fool for whom 30 years of extensive travel as well as residence in Paris!

The Breaking of Eggs

Then we have Rene, who deliberately kept his supposedly closer-than-blood-brother from learning his mother's whereabouts in the mess of postwar Poland. Yet Rene and Feliks are afflicted with apparently minor character flaws compared to those of Wanda, the dimwitted grandmother who committed what is apparently the unforgivable crime of being from--gasp--Columbus, Ohio. It's quite true that Wanda was neither a dancer nor a poet nor charming enough to attract numerous boyfriends, as did Feliks's mother.

Nothing quite so romantic as all that for a Midwestern dullard! Then again, perhaps shallow, plodding Wanda wouldn't have put her two sons--one of them nine years old-- alone on that train to Switzerland, never to see them again. She'd have been on the train with them, true motherly devotion more than compensating for her lack of elan. But then we wouldn't have a story, would we? Though some of its premises are more than a little shaky, it does offer an engaging twist on the personal drama that underpinned the perpetual conflicts that tormented 20th century Europe. View all 4 comments. Feb 24, Laura McNeal rated it it was ok.

I wanted to like this book because of the setting and the subject, but I found the prose frustratingly boring and colorless. There are so few sensory details about any of the places Feliks goes that he might as well not be there at all. You could argue that Feliks simply doesn't experience the world that way, and that he, himself, is boring, but to me that made him a capitalist's caricature of a Communist, someone who is more concerned with political ideals than with things people want and feel.

The second half of the book, admittedly, is more engaging, because Feliks begins to feel grief and love, but even those passages lack immediacy because the revelations occur in letters and dialogue rather than in dramatized scenes. Feb 21, Amanda rated it really liked it Shelves: europe , historical-fiction.

As strange as it is to say, the narrator -- a 61 year old Polish communist living in France in -- reminded me a lot of myself. I think that's why I connected to the book so much. Yes, we fought in the war, many, many brave men and As strange as it is to say, the narrator -- a 61 year old Polish communist living in France in -- reminded me a lot of myself.


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Yes, we fought in the war, many, many brave men and women died fighting for freedom and democracy, but we just don't have the same mindset. We went HOME after the war.

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For Europe, the war was home. And I think it's hard for us to wrap our minds around that.


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Powell does a spectacular job of that by including an American character who also doesn't get it. I am a fan of books that play with the perceptions of memory and ideas. This is the book The Elegance of the Hedgehog tried to be and failed.

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