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Noah's Castle

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  20 reviews

What if money became worthless?

The coming winter was going to be a hard one and not because of the weather.

As England descends into economic chaos, sixteen-year-old Barry Mortimer's life turns upside down when his father moves the family from their cozy home in the city to a grim, brick mansion on the outskirts of town.

Why isn't anyone allowed to visit the Mortimers

Paperback, 211 pages
Published March 15th 2010 by October Mist Publishing (first published January 1st 1975)
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3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  88 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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May 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Alright if you have any intention of reading this book, at anytime, please don't continue to read the review. There is no way I can fully get my feelings about this book across without "spoiling" the plot line for you. So with that being said, on with the show.

I don't know how else to put this than to say, I hate this book. Hate it. There is nothing, and I mean nothing about it I enjoyed. I actually found myself getting angry while I was reading it. I was angry at the author for writing such non
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by John Jacobson, aka "R.J. Jacobs" for

16-year-old Barry Mortimer is a fairly carefree person, living with his domineering father, Norman, his complacent mother, and his siblings in fair comfort. But a crisis is on the rise - the UK is producing more and more money, yet it gets harder and harder to afford to buy items as prices rise. If matters weren't confusing enough, Barry's father goes and buys the family a large, looming house that's much too big for them, and begi
Kyle Pratt
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teen to adult readers.
Shelves: fiction, teotwawki
Noah's Castle grips the reader because it examines the struggles of a family when the thin veneer of society breaks down. In this young adult novel hyperinflation strikes England, causing prices to soar and money to shrink in value and eventually become worthless. The story explores how the members of the family, and those around them, survive and grow during one winter of the crisis. Repeatedly, I found myself asking how I would react in the all too real situations presented by the author.

Mary Hollowell
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In Noah's Castle, John Rowe Townsend creates wonderful dialogue and suspense. His main characters bristle with indignation when their father suddenly moves them to an isolated, fortress-like mansion. The narrator, a young man named Barry, wonders what exactly is his father doing in the basement, all day long?

This book moves at a lightning pace. The tension mounts and doesn't stop until the very end, when Barry steps in to save the family. I read Noah's Castle based on a recommendation by Kather
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lo que puedo sacar de aquí es mi interés por asuntos economicos.
Este libro quiere dejarte con la pregunta sobre la moral. No se si lo hace extremadamente bien.
El padre, hasta al final del libro pude medio entenderlo. El es demasiado machista, pero siento que la sociedad o cuando nació lo hizo así, por el patriarcado.
Luego no me parecio tan entrañable la historia. Si me hizo pensar pero no es la mejor historia que haya leído.
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Reseña IKari: El castillo de Noé - John R. Townsend

El libro se desarrolla en una Inglaterra sumida en la crisis, en la cual la comida escasea y se muestra el lado mas inhumano de la gente al no tener nada que comer, no se puede conseguir trabajo y los precios suben cada vez mas.
El libro esta narrado desde el punto de vista de Barry Mortimer, un chico bastante normal que vive con sus 3 hermanos (Nessie, Geoff y Ellen), su madre y con un padre (Norman) bastante controlador que estuvo en el ejercit
Jul 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-copy, fiction
This book was originally published in 1975, went out of print, then was brought back and republished by October Mist. I think it's important to keep that in mind while reading, as while most of the book stands the test of time, there are parts which are a little dated. Most glaringly, the father's attitude towards his wife and daughters. Yes, he's a bit sexist, but so were a lot of men during that time period. Just look back to the television commercials in the 70s for proof. I've seen a few rev ...more
Jul 01, 2010 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
It took me a long time to get into this book. Barry's father is just so horrible, even before he starts hoarding, that I didn't think I could handle a book full of him. For example:

"You always used to be at work all day until we moved here," Mother pointed out.
"That was before the present crisis," said Father. "Now I have the shopping to do."
"It was you who insisted on doing it," Mother said. ... "I sometimes wonder what I'm for. Just cooking and cleaning, I suppose. I might as well be a serv
Page (One Book At A Time)
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I really enjoyed this book because it feel so terrifyingly real. It raised some thoughtful questions and I can't say what I would do in the same situation. The setting is interesting. It never gives a date, so really it could be in the past, happening now, or sometime in the future. It's reads more like historical fiction for me. I felt the story takes place sometime right after the world wars. I think this is because of some of the chauvinistic attitudes of the men in the story (woman's place i ...more
Aug 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After Barry's father moves his family into a huge house and away from all the people they know, Barry finds out that his father is hiding a huge secret. But his father isn't letting him in on it like he is Barry's brother. His father doesn't want visitors, keeps disappearing into the basement, and those who were friends before are no longer friends. Barry is confused and he knows he must figure out what his father is up to. Soon he finds out that his father has been hoarding rations of food. Eno ...more
Jul 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This book was first published in 1975, so it feels a little more dated than the young adult that's coming out right now. I'm not entirely sure of the reason for the second edition, except that there's a rise in dystopian YA literature, and the publishers saw a chance to market this book to that audience. For me, it didn't quite measure up to some of what I've read. There are books like Life as We Knew It, which was so haunting and real that I kept checking to see if the world really was ending, ...more
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
UK readers: If you want to read about life after Brexit, this would be a chilling suggestion. Written in 1975 it tells the story of a country that runs out of food, due to a major economic crisis, and the effects of rampant inflation. One savvy customer, Mr Mortimer, sees it all coming and wisely hoards food for his family - but is it right to look after ones own when those all around are in such desperate need?

I first read this in Middle School (Year Six?) when it was *introduced to me by a vis
Leslie (That Chick That Reads)
This book was first publishing in 1975, so there are a couple of things that are outdated toward our young adult fiction. Overall I thought it was an excellent read. The only thing I couldn’t quite get passed was the father’s attitude, but if you think about it he was only really trying to think about his family and their future. It’s a real read and it makes you think about what you would possibly do in that extreme situation and although it’s a little dated, it still gives us the same effect a ...more
Emma Hoare
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was almost obsessed with this book when I read it as a teenager. I think I was studying economics and history at the time and the thought that this all might have been so close to possible was compelling. For years I couldn't remember the name of the book, which drove me mad because I wanted to buy it and have another read. I have thought of this book often and hope I can find another copy because I really want to read it again.
Dec 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although slightly dated from its 1978 publication, this book is quite pertinent today. The book opens as Norman Mortimer is stockpiling food in anticipation of a economic crisis. Hyper-inflation makes money nearly worthless, food becomes scarce, and mobs begin to rule. And thru it, Norman tries to hold his family together as different values pull them apart. Written for young adults but an interesting story for anyone.
This is a very good book about how different people view depression era life. What would you do if your family needed to survive and hoarding was illegal? I read this when I was in Middle School and I rather enjoyed it.
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it
A story about life during an economic disaster that feels very contemporary, even if it was written 30-40 years ago. Then again, maybe the thread of economic disaster is something that all time periods have in common.
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Children
Dated but a good read for kids.
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-school-books
This was a book we read at school but which I have recently found a copy of and read again. Some interesting family values raised and economic issues considered providing food for thought.
Lesley Kelly
rated it it was amazing
Mar 26, 2019
NeferLili Chopinovsky
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Aug 17, 2017
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Aug 06, 2017
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Dec 15, 2017
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Nov 11, 2011
Michelle Greathouse
rated it it was ok
Jul 10, 2010
Jennifer Griffith
rated it it was ok
Mar 19, 2008
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Mar 07, 2012
Jon Smith
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May 29, 2015
Cardinal Doomsday
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Nov 04, 2018
Steve Clancy
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Nov 12, 2015
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John Rowe Townsend (born 1922) is a British children's author and academic. His best-known children's novel is The Intruder, which won a 1971 Edgar Award, and his best-known academic work is Written for Children: An Outline of English Language Children's Literature (1965), the definitive work of its time on the subject.

He was born in Leeds, and studied at Leeds Grammar School and Emmanuel College
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