#A-ZChallenge T: Toymaker by Liam Pieper

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.


Bold dark and compelling, The Toymaker is a novel about privelege, fear and the great harm we can do when we are afraid of losing what we hold dear – blurb

Adam Kulakov is middle aged and owns a toy company which brightens the lives of children all over the world. He is wealthy and seems to have everything that anybody could ever desire. But Adam makes  mistakes that threaten to destroy everything.

Adam’s grandfather, who began the toy business, was an Auschwitz survivor. But to survive, he had to make a very difficult choice. That choice has remained secret for his entire life. As he is now coming to the end of his life, he is watching his grandson managing the family business in such a way,  that it’s obvious to him that he will likely destroy it, and all he worked for in his life. But he must continue to keep his secret, so as not to destroy his family.

Written in both the present and the past, contrasting Melbourne, Australia today and life in Auschwitz in WW11.  The Toymaker is both dark and compelling. It tells the story of how close we all can be to losing what we love the most.

My Thoughts

I found most of the characters easy to dislike but the story is amazing. The subject matter  is at times quite challenging, especially towards the end, where the reader may question their moral attitude to doing what needs to be done to survive, at any cost.

The final chapters of this book are extremely powerful and meaningful with the best ending that I’ve read in a long while. I just didn’t see it coming. Pieper adds a twist to the novel that changed my entire perception of the story. As soon as I read the last page, I wanted to read the book again, knowing the ending.  Were there hints along the way that I missed?  


I couldn’t put The Toymaker down and have it on my list of best ever reads. It is a Holocaust book with a difference, like no other I have previously read. 

“His writing is electric” – Weekend Australian

“Pieper is a sharp, smart and classy writer” – Saturday Paper

“Hugely memorable, The Toymaker is an unflinching examination of the dark instinct for survival that lies in all of us” – Hannah Kent, author

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About The Author

Liam Pieper is a Melbourne based author and journalist. His first book was a memoir, The Feel Good Hit of the Year, shortlisted for the National Biography Award and the Ned Kelly Best True Crime award. His second was the Penguin Special Mistakes Were Made, a volume of humorous essays. He was co-recipient of the 2014 M Literary Award, winner of the 2015 Geoff Dean Short Story Prize and the inaugural creative resident of the UNESCO City of Literature in Prague. The Toymaker is his first novel.

Published by Penguin Random House Australia in 2016. Paperback – 263 pages

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Image:  Goodreads



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