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)
I was not sure about listening to someone reading to me least of all a story. This was wonderful. Would recommend it to anyone who wants a good story read in a way that brings the story to life!
What a nice surprise! This is storytelling at its best - past and present - thanks to the excellent narrators. One of the best this summer!
This is two stories, a challenged man in his 20's, and the same man challenged at 90 (or 93, what year is this?), each leading with humor and fantastic suspence to an inevitable disaster, or, well, jeeze, just listen to the story! You'll respect elephants so much more afterwards.
The book took some time to get going. The character development is excellent, the story is compelling, and I'm really happy to have taken the time to listen. A wonderful story definitely worth the credits.
Listen to about four audio books a months. Never without one.
I hesitated to purchase this book because of all the hype. I did not read reviews prior to listening to it. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I thought having two narrators really enhanced the book. Both narrators did an excellent job. It was fun to read about something I know nothing about. It also reinforced to me how fast time flies by and the young will soon become the old.
One star short of five because little was said about his children and what motivated them to not take him in. Still, a very enjoyable book!
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
This is a thoroughly enjoyable listen due to the excellent narrator and well told story. The two narrators enhance the story and help bring the stories to life. While the story may come across as somewhat cliche at times, it is worthy of the listen.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The use of two narrators was done very well. The love story line was somewhat predictable (thus the 4 stars and not 5), but the insight into circus life in the 30's was great. And the ending fit well, even though I didn't expect it. The book had been recommended to me long ago and they were right; it was very good. I have recommended it all of my friends!
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