August 3, 2010

Review: The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell

THE BREAKING OF EGGS is the story of the curmudgeonly Feliks Zhokovski, Polish by birth, Communist at heart, who at age 61 finds that just about everything he has based his life on is crumbling. Separated from him family as a child when the Nazis invaded Poland, Feliks is currently living in Paris and his life’s work is a travel guide to the old Eastern bloc. But unfortunately for Feliks, it’s 1991: the Berlin Wall has fallen, Communism has collapsed, East Germany isn’t the economic miracle he wants it to be, and he’s forced to confront the fact that his travel-writing days are numbered. His guide was a flourishing business, but the old pro-Communist descriptions won’t do, for Western visitors will now be able to see for themselves. So he makes the (extremely difficult) decision to sell his guide to a big, capitalist American publisher. This sets in motion a chain of events that will reunite him with a brother living in Ohio that he hasn’t seen in fifty years, reveal the truth about the mother he thought abandoned him and offer him a second chance with a long-lost love.

My Thoughts:

There are certain books that after being read, change you as a person. Whether it's the intellectual insight or the passion of a character, which are both present in this novel. The Breaking of Eggs isn't a story to be read lightly.  Felix is real and truly inspiring.  Jim is a remarkable writer.

“Powell’s delightful debut novel is by turns winsome and moving. Feliks is an indelible character, and the people who enter his life tell remarkable stories of the suffering that fascism and communism visited on Europe. THE BREAKING OF EGGS is a book that thoughtful readers won’t soon forget.”

“THE BREAKING OF EGGS is a perfect novel. From the very first words, I loved the voice, the narrative, the whole entire story. Feliks Zhukovski is fascinating, and only becomes more so as the story twists and turns through landscapes of history and memory and place. The book is quietly profound and robustly witty. This is the bookseller's favorite kind of novel, a book to put in the hands of men and women of all ages, knowing that they will be back as soon as they have read it for copies to give to others who take great pleasure in reading.”
—Linda Ramsdell, The Galaxy Bookshop (Hardwick, VT)

“With great charm, humor and wisdom, (and a vast amount of modern European history), Powells tells of Feliks' rebirth from a political to an emotional creature. This story manages to take well-worn themes—the horrors of wars, the decisions made and misunderstood or regretted, the costs of political allegiances, the elasticity of families—and make them into a fresh and moving and remarkable story. Unforgettable.”
—Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books (Tampa, FL)

“A fluent, unusual novel.”
—Times Literary Supplement (UK)

Surprisingly warm and very witty
—Stylist Magazine (UK)

About the Author
JIM POWELL has had many careers: as managing director of a large London advertising agency, as founder of a successful ceramics business, as a speechwriter for three government ministers, and even as an office boy for The Beatles. He lives in Northamptonshire, England.

Penguin Group (USA)
July 27, 2010
352 pages
$15.00 US

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.  If you purchase a book using my Amazon or Barnes and Noble link, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Bookmark and Share


  1. I wasn't too sure exactly what this would be about until I read your review and the other comments. It does look like a good book and interesting post-communism tale.

  2. This looks like an interesting book. I've heard a fair bit about the Soviet Union from the perspective of people who visited there shortly after it collapsed, but this character has an unusual perspective.

  3. Thanks for the review, this sounds pretty interesting!

  4. This book sounds truly fascinating. Thanks for the review.