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The Family Frying Pan

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  807 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Mrs Moses is a small woman with a big heart and enormous courage. The only survivor of a Cossack raid on her village, she takes with her a big cast-iron frying pan, so heavy that she can only sling it over her back. Yet this is no ordinary frying pan - it's The Family Frying Pan, blessed with a Russian soul. From this frying pan Mrs Moses manages to feed the various refuge ...more
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published May 28th 2002 by William Heinemann Australia (first published 1997)
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Julia Grundling
Dec 02, 2012 Julia Grundling rated it really liked it
what an exquisite book ..!! i'm not a bryce courtenay fan, but maybe, just maybe, i might become one.

i tried to read 'power of one' a while ago, but gave up, as it simply couldn't get into the book.

this book is based on true facts and it is written so beautifully - i completely fell in love with it ..!!

although i don't like short stories and these stories were originally written separately, he did a brilliant job to combine it into one book.

so maybe, just maybe, i will pick up 'power of one'
May 18, 2016 Pamela rated it it was amazing
Sort of a Chaucer's Canterbury Tales or Decameron for more modern times. Fascinating tale, beginning with the family frying pan tale, and followed by a variety of very diverse tales of each member of a group of travelers fleeing persecution, from different backgrounds, social strata, educational levels, you name it, each traveler as different as possible from the other, all united to flee (Russian) persecution and travel in some sort of safety to a new and better land. Absolutely love this book. ...more
Anya Nielsen
Feb 01, 2015 Anya Nielsen rated it it was ok
The Family Frying Pan is about a group of Jewish people fleeing pogroms in Russia, to a new life in America. Bryce Courtenay has a Jewish background from his great grandmother who as a child was the sole survivor when her village was razed by Cossacks. She escaped with the family frying pan. I loved the way each person in the group of travellers tells a story and a recipe is presented at the end of each chapter. The author is a master wordsmith. Inadvertently, these stories help to shed light on ...more
Feb 10, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it
I have always enjoyed books by Bryce Courtenay. This one is no exception.
It was originally written as a series of short stories. This worried me at first since I am not a lover of short story books. However, Courtenay was asked to put them together in such a way to make it a novel. Even the author thought the finished product was better than the previous one.
I couldn't agree more! I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Yes, there are many other stories in it, but each one has a purpose and connection
Joe Constantine
Jan 17, 2016 Joe Constantine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bryce Courtenay fans and readers of historical fiction
This marked my return to Bryce Courtenay's work after being somewhat underwhelmed by Solomon's Song several years earlier. So it was with some trepidation that I began The Family Frying Pan, hoping that I would enjoy it and that my idolization of Courtenay could be put back on track.

I wasn't disappointed; this is a fascinating yarn (or rather, collection of yarns) pulled from the true-life experiences of Jews fleeing pogroms and striving for a better life beyond Russia (if they can make it out
Caroline Hayes
Aug 27, 2014 Caroline Hayes rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written! A modern Russian version of The Caterbury Tales. Each story a narrative of great bravery and struggle as a group of Jewish and outcast Russians leave their motherland on foot, and throughout the journey share the stories that led to their flee. Memorable! Wonderful, and filled with delicious culture! Oh, how I love to learn about other cultures. ALL cultures!
Apr 13, 2015 Jacinta rated it really liked it
I read this when I'd run out of Courtenay tomes, its a lovely series of short stories interwoven with recipes and calls to mind something of a more contemporary Canterbury Tales. The central figure, Mrs Moses is endearing, tough as nails and chutzpah galore. Warm your cockles, fill your belly.
Not bad for two bucks from Savers!! :P

This was the first B. Courtenay book I've actually managed to finish, and it was pretty good. I like the idea of how all the stories were based upon the 'family frying pan', and how they all came together through Mrs. Moses. I also liked the historical references in the story and how war makes people do absolutely insane things, like eating a myna when you are starving.

However, I think I would have preferred the original coloured version of this book, with
This book was very different to Bryce Courtenay’s other books and I have to admit that after reading the first few stories I had contemplated abandoning this book; but I’m glad I continued reading. I’m not usually a fan of short stories, however these were all nicely linked together by a shared journey and the commonality of hardship, survival and the family frying pan. Much to my surprise, by the end of the book I had become quite attached to the characters that Bryce Courtenay had portrayed.

Nancy Chabot
I really enjoyed it. I love food so I could see this... She has this frying pan that she brings with her and it enables her to feed herself and others. What a great symbol this frying pan stands for.
Mar 28, 2016 KylaS rated it really liked it
I listened to the audio book. It was not exactly what I had expected. An engaging story full of individual and shared experiences. A well-woven tale. Worth the read.
Dec 13, 2012 Johnsergeant rated it liked it
Narrated by Melissa Eccleston, Humphrey Bower

8 hrs and 7 mins

Publisher's Summary

Mrs. Moses is a small woman with a big heart and enormous courage. The only survivor of a Cossack raid on her village, she takes with her a big cast-iron frying pan, so heavy that she can only sling it over her back. Yet this is no ordinary frying pan, it's The Family Frying Pan, blessed with a Russian soul. From this frying pan Mrs. Moses manages to feed the various refugees who are travelling with her across Russia
Bryn Massey
May 13, 2014 Bryn Massey rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books my mum read me as a kid and it is to this day probably the most exquisite piece of literature I have come across. I adore this book
Dec 09, 2014 Bec rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from the first word to the last. It is well written and beautiful account of an extraordinary woman. A must read in my opinion
Ronel Mick
Nov 03, 2015 Ronel Mick rated it it was amazing
Awesome read, loved the style of writing and how each story is a life lesson. Favorite quote "to think is free, to speak is costly"
Simon Selvadurai
Sep 06, 2014 Simon Selvadurai rated it really liked it
a beatifull story book it seems like small books like this are overlooked do your self a favour read it
Jun 09, 2015 Julia rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of my favourites, loved all the short stories.
Matthew Bushnell
I liked this, but not as much as Courtenay's otyher writings. Perhaps this is because it was originally written as a compilation of loosely connected short stories. Courtenay says that the publishers asked him to rewrite it to make it more "novel like" and though it somewhat succeeds, I feel that there is a bit of disconnection between the individual stories which tend to interupt the flow a bit. Overall a good read though and very interesting also to learn of the author's own connection to the ...more
Apr 14, 2012 Nicole rated it it was amazing
At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about this book... I was conflicted...
But it's proven to be a choice novel about personal strength to overcome life threatening fears, the selflessness of people in your community, and the power of personal support one offers to even the people you may not always see eye to eye with...
Mrs. Moses is a fantastic person and without her strength and love of people, the group may not have made it out of Mother Russia alive and of spirit...
Jul 11, 2012 Donata rated it it was amazing
Found the main character, Mrs Moses inspirational. Escaping the attack in her village by the Cossack with only a cast-iron frying pan. She meets up with a group of refugees who are also trying to escape the Cossack. They travel across Russia to a safer place. Every night each refugee tells everyone their live story while food is being cooked in the cast-iron frying pan. Their stories are spellbinding. I think they were all very brave and inspirational
Nov 25, 2008 C. rated it it was ok
Shelves: australian
Always a little bit of 'wtf' was in my head whenever I read this book (I attempted it twice, completing it both times but only because it's short). Other than that I remember little about it except that my mum loves it.

I think it has a lot in common with The Alchemist and other Paolo Coelho monstrosities - feelgood and pretentiously, self-consciously simple, like authors pretending to be 'art brut' even though we all know they're not.
Feb 08, 2008 Heidi rated it liked it
Lots of great stories in here. The actualy story is from the grandmother of the author's wife. She told the author her story of fleeing Russia on foot during a time when Jews were being killed all over Russia. She was 16 when she left and had already lived in 2 Jewish villages that were completly killed by Russian solgiers. Each chapter is the story of one of the different people in her group her were fleeing Russia also.
Samantha Fleming
I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't aware that the book is full of short stories. Stories about Russian people in Russia in i'm guessing around 1910. These people are all travelling together and collecting small amounts of vegetables for the Frying Pan. I really enjoyed all of the short stories and found them very interesting. This was my first Bryce Courtenay book read and ill be reading a few more of his to come.
Robert Dart
Oct 01, 2012 Robert Dart rated it it was amazing
A fascinating tale of courage of a random collection of underdogs fleeing what remains of Russia in the early 20th Century. Their experiences of world events are astounding. A great easy to read collection of short stories bound together by the spirit to survive. I really enjoyed this read.
Apr 20, 2010 Outnumbered09 rated it it was amazing
Great, great story of a woman escaping her village after it was attacked by the Cosaks, and how what she took was a frying pan. The frying pan becomes the center of the story, and through it we learn the stories of the other people she meets and travels with. It has a great ending, too. Bonus.
Mar 27, 2012 Dennis rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Reportadly based on the true story of Bryce Courtenay'Jewish Grandmother's escape from Russia. in the form of short stories about the people who accompanied her and what became of them.
Oct 11, 2011 Becky rated it it was ok
Shelves: in-the-past, audio
The book itself was good. Basically a book of interconnected short stories. I found the voices on the audio book annoying and found I had to listen to it on 1.4 or 2 times speed.
Apr 25, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
If you are looking for something to read that resonates deep within, this is it. Again, another piece from Bryce Courtenay that many haven't had the pleasure to discover.
Nov 25, 2013 Mama rated it it was amazing
A very good read! What an amazing journey this group of people went on together and the stories brought out around the family frying pan as they journeyed across the country!
Jan 07, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
This is an old time favourite for those who love to sit and be told a great story with moving characters and the joy of family. Great read, especially if you love bryce courtenay
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