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Water for Elephants | [Sara Gruen]

Water for Elephants

Why we think it’s a great listen: Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be heard – Water for Elephants falls into the second group, and is one of the best examples we have of how a powerful performance enhances a great story. 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.
Regular Price:$24.46
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Two narrators weave together strands of a story spanning decades. David LeDoux portrays the lead character in his twenties and John Randolph Jones is the same character 70 years later. Both are excellent, but Jones' rough bass filled my head with the joys and pain felt by the old man, in a way that the voice I hear when I read to myself could never have done. One of the most outstanding audiobooks I've ever heard! —Beth Anderson

Publisher's Summary

An atmospheric tale of life and love in a Depression-era traveling circus.

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

What the Critics Say

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award, Adult Fiction, 2007
  • Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, Unabridged, 2007

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (14939 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joni lakeville, MN, USA 06-30-07
    Joni lakeville, MN, USA 06-30-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    Overall
    "The best!"

    Best audiobook I have ever listened to. Two outstanding readers. I liked the dramatic music weaved into the book also.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Bloomington, IL, USA 06-27-07
    Diane Bloomington, IL, USA 06-27-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    1
    Overall
    "Memorable, Memorable, Memorable"

    This is my favorite book AND audiobook. The story itself is so engaging. Then the narrators and voices lend such life to the story that you would swear you are watching a movie in your head. It's one of those that stays with you for so long after. And the unexpected bonus is how it reminds you that our elderly treasures have amazing stories to tell if anyone is willing to listen. I was so touched...............

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Wheeling 06-26-07 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "you should read it!"

    It is well written and interesting right to the end. i would definitly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mariah north salt lake, UT, USA 06-26-07
    Mariah north salt lake, UT, USA 06-26-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    "Great Book !!"

    I LOVED this book !! The narration was fantastic. I was riveted from the very first sentence. I did not want it to end… I can not wait for her next book !!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Sun Prairie, WI, USA 06-25-07
    Barbara Sun Prairie, WI, USA 06-25-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "An Excellent Listen"

    I found this book to be very well read and written. I enjoyed the protanganist very much both young and old.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen fletcher, NC, USA 06-19-07
    Eileen fletcher, NC, USA 06-19-07 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    1
    Overall
    "loved this book"

    Great writing,wonderful readers,couldn't wait to get back in the car to listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn 06-19-07
    Dawn 06-19-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    REVIEWS
    251
    13
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    1
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    Overall
    "Excellent, moving"

    This is well worth the time. One of the best books I have ever heard on Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N Marlene Fleming 06-16-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    REVIEWS
    70
    7
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    0
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    "Amazing and insightful book!"

    Wonderful storytelling with a unique view of a man at 23 and 90=something. I had to listen to it twice because I was so sorry when it ended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audrey Hustisford, WI, USA 06-16-07
    Audrey Hustisford, WI, USA 06-16-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    7
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Very Good Listen"

    I thought this book was excellent. I couldn't stop listening. The readers were excellent as well. I really enjoyed the old man's portrayal as an elderly Jacob. I highly recommened this book. It is a great example of 'everything happens for a reason.'

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melody Morriston, FM, USA 06-14-07
    Melody Morriston, FM, USA 06-14-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "I Want a Sequel!!!"

    I loved this book. It is out of the genre that I normally read (listen to), but it was well worth it. I would be thrilled if the author decided to write a sequel that takes up where this one ends... I so want to find out how the rest of this man's life went and to hear more antedotes from the nursing home. The author did an excellent job decribing the man's feelings while in the nursing home!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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