Toads' Museum of Freaks and Wonders

Overview


Fiction. WP Award Series in the Novel. In the wake of a thwarted career as a concert pianist and the accompanying emotional fallout, Gin accepts a marriage proposal from the peculiar Mr. Toad. But nothing from the albino Gin Toad's upbringing in the bourgeois drawing rooms of Perth has prepared her for a hardscrabble existence on a subsistence farm in the Australian outback. In her Wyalkatchem exile, she explores what it means to be a mother and wife, an underappreciated musician, and the town freak. She walks ...
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Overview


Fiction. WP Award Series in the Novel. In the wake of a thwarted career as a concert pianist and the accompanying emotional fallout, Gin accepts a marriage proposal from the peculiar Mr. Toad. But nothing from the albino Gin Toad's upbringing in the bourgeois drawing rooms of Perth has prepared her for a hardscrabble existence on a subsistence farm in the Australian outback. In her Wyalkatchem exile, she explores what it means to be a mother and wife, an underappreciated musician, and the town freak. She walks on eggshells to accommodate the cantankerous Toad and comes to accept her life without independence, music, or love until Antonio arrives. The Italian POWs forced into the Toads' service change the landscape of Gin's world. She is haunted by the memory of her first child's death; Antonio is exiled from a country and family he cherishes, banished to Western Australia while WWII threatens all he holds dear. In their mutual isolation and loss, the growing intimacy between Gin and Antonio becomes their escape from hardship but will it also be their undoing?
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Goldbloom's prize-winning debut, set in 1943, albino Gin is a talented pianist living on a remote Australian farm with her bizarre, elfin husband Toad and their children, far removed from the life she once led in Perth: "I was an evil omen, a pale and hunched ghost whose own mother wouldn't have warmed her with a kiss." At 30, Gin is resigned to her lot in life, dictated by a genetic deformity that has kept her from a successful music career and dooms her to feeling like a sideshow act-until Italian prisoners of war arrive and everything changes. Gin identifies more with her newfound friend Antonio than with Toad, whom she had married after just one meeting, figuring no one else would offer. As she learns more about Toad's predilections, Gin draws closer to Antonio, learning to trust for the first time in her life. Goldbloom's writing deftly captures Gin's overwhelming isolation, reinforced by the unforgiving landscape, creating an unusual and haunting tale that will linger in readers' minds.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781930974883
  • Publisher: New Issues Poetry & Prose, Western Michigan University
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Series: New Issues Poetry and Prose Series
  • Pages: 321
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Goldie Goldbloom's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in StoryQuarterly, Narrative and Prairie Schooner, as well as in anthologies in Australia and the USA. She won the 2008 AWP Novel Award and the Jerusalem Post International Fiction Prize. Her stories have been translated into more than ten languages. She lives in Chicago with her eight children.
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