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The Tobacconist
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Group Read Archive > Group Fiction Read - September 2018 - The Tobacconist - SPOILERS ALLOWED

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (mrswhams) | 730 comments Mod
Spoilers are allowed in this thread. Please unselect 'Add to my update feed' so other don't see your comments.

Things to consider:

1. Did you like the book?
2. Did you like or dislike the main characters?
3. Do the characters develop?
4. What did you think of the plot and the ending of the story?
5. Do you have any particular favourite quotes or scenes?
6. Would you read anything else by this author?


Pamela (bibliohound) | 359 comments I liked this book a lot, I always enjoy books that view historical events through the eyes of an ordinary person. The descriptions of Vienna and of the lake where Franz used to live were beautifully done.

I liked Franz, although his naïveté was sometimes a bit too extreme to be believable. For this reason, I wasn't sure about the scenes with Sigmund Freud, their philosophical discussions didn't seem to be consistent with the way Franz spoke with Otto or Anezka.

I thought the ending was excellent, there is a blend of comedy and tragedy leading up to the final scenes that I found very poignant, and they made the point about the senselessness of war in a subtle way.

I'd definitely read more by this author, I have A Whole Life so will read that next.


message 3: by Joy (new) - rated it 1 star

Joy Stephenson (joyfrankie) | 463 comments I didn't like this book and am wondering what I missed that others saw in it - it seems to be widely acclaimed.
By about halfway I was bored and ready to give up. I found the character of Franz both unbelievably naive and irritating in his self obsession. I didn't find any humour in this at all. I pressed on and liked the second half better but it still felt uneven and purposeless. Having Freud in the story didn't add anything and simply felt odd. I suppose it would be classified as a coming of age story, but I didn't feel that Franz did develop and the replacing of the nazi flag with the trousers didn't seem to come from anywhere in his emotional evolution. I think my favourite character was the briefly drawn postman. He felt real - somewhat disturbed by political changes but keeping his head down. The story obviously had the poignancy of real events brought to mind but the writing itself didn't bring this.
I felt that somewhere there was possibly a good short story in among this meandering novel.


Becky | 161 comments I finished this book weeks ago and am only just getting round to writing any comments. I think that’s mainly because I got to the end of it and didn’t really have anything to say. It just left me quite underwhelmed.

I agree with Joy to an extent. I don’t think I was bored reading the book but I don’t understand the acclaim it has received.

I found Franz irritating and self-obsessed and really wasn’t sure about Freud’s part in the book. It didn’t seem to fit well within the story and I would always want portrayals of real people to be realistic.

The tobacconist was an interesting character and it might have been better if the book focused on him and Franz, rather than Franz and Freud. I liked the way he ‘trained’ Franz by getting him to sit reading the newspapers all day.


message 5: by Mel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mel (literary_confessions) I really liked this - straight away it put me in mind of The Grand Budapest Hotel so I had that visual and narrative style in my head as I read which really helped push me through when it seemed a bit slow sometimes. The inclusion of Freud felt a bit gimmicky to me and sort of tailed off into nothing which bemused me slightly but I loved the communication between Franz and his mother - her frankness with him was startling at times but touching. Overall I think it was very successful at presenting the shocking disintegration of normal life as neighbours became enemies and a young man realises how very important it is to stand up for what you believe in. A solid 4 stars from me!


message 6: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) | 5463 comments Mod
Hello Mel, (Waves) At least someone liked it!


message 7: by Mel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mel (literary_confessions) Hi Paul :-) I really did - I’m glad to have read it! One of those books that are better read in big chunks though, rather than one you can pick up and put down frequently.


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