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Goldie Goldbloom

Goldie Goldbloom

Goldie Goldbloom's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in StoryQuarterly, Narrative and Prairie Schooner, as well as in anthologies in Australia and the USA. She won the 2008 AWP Novel Award and the Jerusalem Post International Fiction Prize. Her stories have been translated into more than ten languages. She lives in Chicago with her eight children.

Winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writers Award - Fiction


Winner of the Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Reviews.

Book of the Year Award


Toads' Museum of Freaks and Wonders

Toads' Museum of Freaks and WondersToads' Museum of Freaks and Wonders

$26.00 cloth | 321 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-930974-88-3
Publication Date: Feb 2010
Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | ShopWMU | UPNE

AWP Award Series in the Novel
Judge: Joanna Scott

"Toads’ Museum of Freaks and Wonders is a strange, mesmerizing tale about characters uncomfortably defined by superficial eccentricities. It is also a wrenching love story."
       —Joanna Scott, Judge

"I have never read anything quite like this, nor has anyone else. The voice is acid, funny, at first commonsensical and un-self-pitying, later lyrical, later madly deluded; the voice is gorgeous, it is brilliant. How Goldie Goldbloom makes us feel the absolute reality of another human soul while simultaneously making us shriek with laughter is beyond me. But this is exactly what she does, and the result is dazzling."
       —Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever

"Toad’s Museum, oh, it’s a wonder. Told in the beautiful, wildly irresistible, darkly playful cadences and idioms of West Australia. And every part of it feels both dreamlike and true. Feels like it could only have happened in this harsh place, been told in these shimmering words, by this supremely gifted writer"
       —Molly Gloss, author of The Hearts of Horses

"What an astonishing book this is! Goldie Goldbloom’s book runs like a live current between poles of emotion, searing a path between delight and pain, the local and the universal, and finally between love and loss. I can’t remember when I last heard a new voice as exhilarating as this."
       —Rosellen Brown, author of Before and After

" . . . extraordinary . . . one of the most original Australian novels I've read for a long time."
       —Sydney Morning Herald

" . . . it is apparent from the first few pages that you are in the hands of a mater; Goldbloom writes with clarity and complexity, balancing abstract questions of identity, love, and value with a tensely developed plot and rich characters."
       —Alex Myers,

" . . . a fascinating tale of small town life in Australia and romance, highly recommended."
       —Midwest Book Review, May 2010

"The tale plays out with idiosyncratic humor and melodic, lucid prose. Gin isn't the spunky heroine of The Bridges of Madison County or My Brilliant Career; she's complex, haunted, perverse and impulsive. . . . Vivid, indeed--an accomplished work."
       —Laurie Sullivan, ForeWord Magazine

" . . . one of the oddest and most wonderful books I've read in a long time. . . . while this might sound like the making of a familiar, traditional love story, Toad's Museum is anything but."
       —Trish Crapo, Women's Review of Books, Vol. 27, No. 5


I was hiding in the orchard, pretending to check for creepycrawlies rutting on the beginnings of the fruit when the Italian prisoners of war arrived, descending from the sergeant's green Chevy: one fella tiny, nervous, prancing sideways, shaking his glossy black mane, a racehorse of a man, sixteen if he was a day; the other bloke a walking pie safe, draped in a freakish magenta army uniform, complete with a pink blur in the buttonhole that I reckoned was an everlasting. Some prisoners. They looked more like two obscure French artists mincing along behind the curator of a museum of primitive art. The curator, my husband Toad, pointed to the house, and I imagined him saying, "And over here is the Toady masterpiece — The Farm House — painted in a mad rush in 1935 before the wife had her first child — notice the delightfully eccentric stone chimney, the listing veranda, the sun-burned children lurking under the mulberry." And the tame cockatoo, Boss Cockie, saw them coming and raised his crest in alarm and muttered under his breath. "Shut up," he said. "Go away. Bad bloody cockie."
     I turned thirty the year the Italians came to our West Australian farm, and I was afraid of them, so afraid of those oversexed men we'd read about, rapists in tight little bodies with hot Latin eyes, men who were capable of anything. Of course, we didn’t know much about them, just what we’d heard on the wireless or read in the paper and if Mr. Churchill had said donkeys were flying in Italy, I do think we'd have believed him. We women of the district, none of us wanted the Italians, bu who were we to say? It was impossible to get help for ploughing and seeding and shearing, the young bloods gone to splatter themselves all over Europe, New Guinea, North Africa, and even the old retreads in the Volunteer Defence Corps were busy drilling on the football oval. They didn’t know that their crushed paper bag faces were enough to repel any Japanese invasion. Men were rationed, like everything else, and so when the government offered prisoners of war as farm labour, the control centres were mobbed from the first day by farmers in search of workers.