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The Ice-Cream Makers

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,096 ratings  ·  167 reviews
In this international bestseller, a poet struggles to decide if he should put his family's or his own needs first when he returns to Italy to help run the ice cream dynasty he left behind years ago in this charming tale perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove.
As the heir to a proud Northern Italian ice-cream dynasty, Giovanni Calamine's family is none too happy when he decid
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by 37 Ink (first published January 2nd 2015)
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Average rating 3.30  · 
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 ·  1,096 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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May 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
17 pages in and there have already been several passages about one of the minor characters developing breasts. She is defined by these. The men think of nothing else. She thinks of nothing else. She spends time holding them, aching and wishing for a man to hold her to make her complete.

For fucks sake. Men, for the love of god stop writing wish fulfillment shite like this. Publishers - maybe once in a while call them on it will you? NO WOMAN THINKS LIKE THIS. If you want to write things like thi
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Poignant, intriguing, and delightfully entertaining!

The Ice-Cream Makers is set in both Rotterdam and Northern Italy and is the multi-generational story of the Talamini family and their ice-creaming making dynasty.

It centres around two brothers; Giovanni, the oldest who decides to branch out from tradition and lead a life filled with words, festivals, travel, and independence; And Luca the youngest who does what is expected and continues the family business of making ice cream like his father, g
David V.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Received as an ARC from the publisher. Started 7-22-17; finished 7-27-17. Tells the story of a multi-generational family of Italian ice-cream makers in the Netherlands and the youngest son who prefers to become a poet. Along the way the reader gets a lesson in the history of ice-cream making, and the flavors described make you SO HUNGRY for the treat. Although the book has been touted as one for fans of A Man Called Ove, I found it to be similar in style but still not as compelling as Ove. It do ...more
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novel set in the DOLOMITES with lots of ice-cream (what's not to like?)
A delightful book combining village life in Northern Italy and ice cream. What’s not to like?

This is the story of one Italian family, bedded in the mores and traditions of the Dolomites, who create wonderful recipes for commercial ice cream.

Way back when, in the Autumn/Winter time the menfolk would set out on foot from Venas Di Cadore (near Cortina d’Ampezzo) to walk to Vienna (imagine! That’s well over 500km and easily a thr
Rachel Carter
Mar 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crap
This author can’t go more than a couple pages without describing a pair of ta-tas. About 10 pages in, I gave up after this paragraph about a preteen girl- “At home, in her room, she sometimes held her breasts for hours. ... She was becoming a woman and she needed a man, a man to hold her.” Every female character (who isn’t old) is a collection of body parts!
Jun 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was really hoping I’d enjoy this book but I didn’t at all. I found it boring, I struggled to understand the time line and didn’t feel endeared to any of the characters. Bland is a word to describe it. Plus reading about men objectifying women gets old very quickly.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's a real shame I didn't enjoy a book about making ice cream. Unfortunately, I had no idea what the plot was, and it was way too straight white male.
Denice Barker
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m going to dispel two thoughts you might have about this book based solely on its title and cover. This is not going to be sold to you as a summer reading book by me because in my experience the term “summer reading” equates as mindless read. This story isn’t mindless. And this is not going to be exploited by me as a summer reading book because the words ‘ice cream’ are in the title.
There, now lets’ talk about this story. Giovanni Calamine comes from a family whose tradition is ice cream. I
This is really a 2.5 rating. I'm not sure what I expected when I signed up for an advanced copy of The Ice-Cream Makers but what I got wasn't it. Though Italian culture and the history of the Northern Italian Ice-Cream makers are subjects which should have interested me, I had a difficult time getting into the story of the Talamini family (or is it Calamine? The translator probably changed that for the novel's U.S. release thanks to the well-known anti-itching lotion.). I don't know how much of ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
At first I thought: The cover (with the ice cream cone) looks nice. The blurb makes a nice impression. I liked the description of the making of the ice cream and the pleasure it brought - reading it makes you want ice cream. Unfortunately that was the only positive thing about the book for me.
What bothered me most was the sexual, macho comments that ran through the book and seemed just as inappropriate and unnecessary to me as the very pictorial description of sexual experiences of the first-per
Katie Baker
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the language and writing in this book. It made me long for ice cream and poetry. It is not a traditional beginning, middle, end story, it doesn't really go anywhere but the journey is magical.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
The main protagonist was too obsessed with breasts so I lost interest in the story at page 166.
Scribe Publications
Van der Kwast tells his multigenerational tale with great sensitivity, demonstrating through powerful observations the long-term effect of one person's decision upon others throughout the generations. A delightful read; smooth as ice cream on a hot summer day.
Kirkus Reviews

A delightfully quirky and sensual exploration of an Italian family’s obsession with two of the greatest pleasures in life: ice-cream and poetry. What’s not to love?
Jo Riccioni, Author of The Italians at Cleat’s Corner Stor
Dan Holland
Jul 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is truthfully one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. The storyline is close to impossible to follow, as a matter of fact, there is no storyline. I bought this book for the exciting and enticing reviews that it has received... I'm thinking maybe the book would make more sense in Dutch? I have forced myself to finish the novel, and I still have little to no clue as to what the hell is going on in the story. Avoid, unless you thrive off of being eternally confused from what you're ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So I hated this book. The characters are flat, unrealistic and incredibly stupid. The story is even worse. There is hardly a plot, and the little bit there is is very confusing because of the time jumps.

Seriously, they’re horrible. One moment, a baby boy is born. Two pages further, he’s all grown up. Then he’s seven months and then he’s grown up again.

Most characters are obsessed with sex. There’s no other way to put it. This writer has some serious issues. Especially the second sex scene was tr
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Ice-Cream Makers is about how a young man is conflicted on following his family traditions or follow his dreams. Giovanni Talamini wanted to leave the family's Ice-Cream business to pursue his goal of a literary career. However, one day his youngest brother Luca called Giovanni asking for his help. The readers of The Ice-Cream Makers will continue to follow to see if Giovanni what happens.

The Ice-Cream Maker is a well-written story by Ernest van der Kwast and a delightful book to reading. I
Apr 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
I have find myself being farely much into food stories and japanese books. Also I have find myself getting nice surprises buying books while travelling. So there I was in a middle-European train station alone changing trains. The next trip would be 8 hours, so a story of the art and life of ice cream making Italian family was perfect. Gladly did I shut the book quicker than any before after too many awkwardness as described by other rewievers.

Was it me or was it the writer? Nope it was the write
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Desirée Boom
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I thought this would be a book about the ice making family Talamini, but that's only about half of it. The other half is about the eldest son who works in literature, and the feelings of betrayal his family have because of it, and chapter two is almost completely about how Giuseppe's girl friend developed breasts and how he and all the boys in the village can only look at those breasts, and how much they ache and how she spends hours holding her breasts. No thanks. Male authors, hear this: we do ...more
Who can resist a story about ice cream? I signed up for this book because of the title. I love ice cream and I was curious what story do ice cream makers tell.

There is a contention that ice cream did not originate from Italy. There is a claim that it actually came from China. But Giuseppe Talamini would absolutely oppose that. He thinks that Marco Polo did not actually go to China and brought ice cream making as one of the discoveries from the east with him. Giuseppe believes that his grandfathe
Oct 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I've enjoyed many books by international authors, but I just couldn't get into this one. I know the beginning needs to lay the groundwork for what is to come, but it just seemed to drag and I didn't care about the main character. There are so many books out there to read and this isn't going to be one of them for me. I did not finish this book.
Connie Whitcomb
Aug 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I probably didn't give it a chance, but I didn't like it after about 20 pages, so that is a far as I got.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Original review posted on my blog, Musings of a Bookish Kitty:

The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest Van der Kwast
Atria (37INK), 2017
Fiction; 288 pgs
Source: E-copy provided by publisher via NetGalley

Poetry and ice cream: two of my favorite things. I ended up highlighting quite a few quotes in my copy of The Ice-Cream Makers, particularly about poetry. Giovanni Talamini* discovered his love for poetry during his teen years. Much to his father's consternation, Giov
Elaine - Small Farm Big Life
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
This is the story of the Calamine family's ice cream parlor and their son Giovanni who decides to break tradition and become a poet. As the oldest son it would be customary for him to take over the ice cream shop when he became an adult, but he did not want to be like the rest. He dared to not desire to be an ice cream maker all of his days.

He watched his father tole 9 months out of the year making ice cream 16 to 18 hours a day. He spent his childhood at a private school where he was abused by
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is pure rubbish. Girls do not spend hours standing in front of mirrors fondling their breasts and hips while daydreaming about needing men.
For being published in 2015, it is astonishing (and disheartening) to read such nonsense.
The first chapter is all about an 80 year old man falling in love with a red haired track and field athlete he sees on television. If the author was aiming for quirkiness, it fails. Instead, it is pathetic and weak. The portrayal of an elderly man-child being t
Dave Courtney
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Splitting the book into two halves works well for framing the perspective of the young poet, struggling between the expectation of the family business (an ice cream shop) and his dream to become a writer and live his life on his terms, against the imagery of the ice cream maker.

The shop itself is used as a narrative device to symbolize the young man's journey and to bring together the competing relationships in his life. And never has ice cream and romance ever been paired together in such an e
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from Atria Books as part of a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway. “The Ice-Cream Makers” is about eschewing expectations and scrutinizing the age-old refrain “what if?” The Calamine/Talamini family has been churning ice-cream for generations but Giovanni, the Calamine’s eldest son, does not want to continue in the ways of his ancestors. Giovanni’s world is turned upside down by a chance encounter with a stranger who convinces Giovanni that there is a respectable career to be had ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Upon reading the summary of this book, I was interested, and wanted to learn more about the ice cream making family. As I began reading however, I found that this book differed tremendously from what I had thought it would be. The book follows an Italian family living in Holland, as they go back and forth to Italy, making their beloved ice cream, a family tradition that has been passed from one generation to the other. The book delves into a history of the ice cream trade, while we learn more ab ...more
Ellen Rennels
A very interesting family drama with plenty of historical background about the history and craft of ice-cream. It follows the lives of an ice-cream making family in Italy. They winter in Italy and spend about 7-8 months living in Rotterdam where they work 18 hour days in their ice cream shop. When there are very specific family expectations about the direction of your life, what does it take to go a different direction? and what is the price you might pay? Should family tradition going back seve ...more
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Dutch writer Ernest van der Kwast was born in Mumbai, India. Mama Tandoori (2010), his breakthrough novel, enjoyed huge success in the Netherlands and Italy, selling over 100,000 copies. In 2012 he produced the novella Giovanna’s Navel, which entered the Der Spiegel bestseller list immediately after publication in Germany in spring 2015. His fluid, sensual style has charmed critics everywhere. As ...more

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