Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. There he meets the freaks, grifters, and misfits that populate this world. Jacob introduces us to Marlena, beautiful star of the equestrian act; to August, her charismatic but twisted husband (and the circus' animal trainer); and to Rosie, a seemingly untrainable elephant.
Beautifully written, with a luminous sense of time and place, Water for Elephants tells of love in a world in which love's a luxury few can afford.
©2006 Sara Gruen; (P)2006 HighBridge Company
"Water for Elephants resembles stealth hits like The Giant's House, by Elizabeth McCracken, or The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, books that combine outrageously whimsical premises with crowd-pleasing romanticism. . . . With a showman's expert timing, [Gruen] saves a terrific revelation for the final pages, transforming a glimpse of Americana into an enchanting escapist fairy tale.” (New York Times Book Review)
"Just like a circus, the magic of the story and the writing convince you to suspend your disbelief." (Booklist)
"Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes, and freaks who populate her book." (Publishers Weekly)
Literary graduate and published columnist turned glorified grease monkey.
fantastic story line here. Even though it travels back and forth between past and present, it is easy to follow due to 2 different narrators. Showed an interesting side to being old. Funny ending and very comfortable story line. Characters are well developed and I was very drawn into the book. Great stuff.
I really enjoyed this book. I saw other reviewers liked the book so decided to try it. It was written and narrated beautifully. I really felt like I was part of the circus. The author invites you into the society without ovewhelming you with too much info.
Say something about yourself!
if you like long stories that make you laugh and at the end make you think.. this is it. dont turn from this book get it and enjoy it.. i talked about this story for weeks.
This is a great book, you will not be able to stop listening. The narration is one of the best I have heard so far, having two different voices for the character definitely transport you in time. You can almost feel like you're inside the story.
Who would have thought that a story about a circus could be so intriguing. The character development is strong. The back and forth between the past and present is well done. This is a toroughly enjoyable listen.
This a nice story but not as engaging as some people have said. It is entertaining and has some nice touches on the details of the story. The characters are not as developed as I would like but still the author managed to make me care for the a bit. I don't regret buying it.
I listenned to this book and was loathed to turn if off; it was so absorbing. I was hooked right from the very beginning. Jacob at 90(93) gave me new insight to how the elderly see themselves and the world and made me sad to think of how we treat them. Sara Gruen has to be commended on her sesitivity.
This is one of the best books I've ever read. Actually, I listened to this one and the narrators had me captivated from the very beginning and their narration really added a wonderful dimension to the book. I've talked with others who read it and enjoyed it but weren't as overwhelmed by it as I was, so I'm not sure if it was just the timing of when I read it or the audio version that made it so enjoyable for me. It felt sort of like a "Green Mile" at the circus.
There were a couple of sex scenes that were too detailed for me and some language I could have done without, but the story had me engrossed from the very beginning. I see why Audible voted this "Best Audio Book of 2006."
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.