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)
What a moving story of love and and the desire to live. Fantastic narration made you feel that you experienced the lives of these wonderful characters.
This book ranks up there with Life of Pi and The time travellers wife.
How can Rosie be a bull elephant, she is a female ? Doesn't this bother anyone that "bull" elephant is mentioned at least 200 times in this book? What's wrong with the author checking the most simple and basic facts? I thought the book simple and very predicable, not very well written.
Buy this book. There, the real question is answered but you want details? Fine, take a listen to a story that gives depth and color to anyone's life who starts young and ends up wondering how they got old and didnt notice. Listen to a story about running away to the circus and how a young man got a lifetime of lessons in the real world over some short months. The descriptions of the life in a circus and the characters who lived it are impressive and a joy to listen to. By the end of the story, you will be completely enthralled by the central character and his life story and it will, not might, it WILL cause you to rethink how you treat grand dad in you own life. You can easily lose yourself in the story as it flows around the plot. The prose is well written and the use of two narrators provides an excellent verbal presentation of a young man and his much older self. This book is one of the best narrated stories I have heard in the past three years of using Audible and really makes the listening a real joy.
My wife read this and told me that it was one of the best books she has read. What she likes and what I like are usually like day and night.
Well I also thought this book was one of best and
did not want it to end. A wonderful read for all.
This was the best book I've listened to in a long time! It was definitely a book to listen to--the narration was superb. I don't think I would have enjoyed the book nearly as much if I had read it. I am old enough (past 70) to remember circuses in big tops, so perhaps it appealed to me more than it would a younger person. But for me it definitely deserves 5 stars!
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...............
"Water for Elephants"
Both strangely exotic and nostalgically familiar, this tale of tenderness found in the harsh reality of circus life and enduring love stolen from cruelty is captivating and entrancing. Told through the eyes and voices of an old timer and his younger self, it flips from past to present and back again with ease and manages to bring two stories together with equal strength and interest. A beautiful story that is beautifully read by the narrators.
I listened to this for a second time when I had exhausted my new supply while away.
And it was just as enthralling as the first listen.
Brilliantly written and wonderfully read by the two readers.
I can't recommend it highly enough - one of the best audibles I've listened to.
"A true love story"
A true love story written to thrive in the 21st Centry, from the charactors to the plot line its well written and addictive.........
"The film does not even get close."
I could not put this book down.
I remember exactly where I was when things happened in this book.
The character of the old man is explored to the fullest extend, this character made the story, and was completely overlooked in the film version.
Perfect for a holiday, or summer commutes, as I did.
Unusual subject and not one I would normally choose. It made me laugh and cry. Brilliant. Do read it
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this audiobook when I started listening to it as I found the hopping between the current and past a little hard going and the older person's voice difficult to understand at times. But, I'm glad I perservered with it. The story is very original and draws you in. Worth a listen
"Wonderfully engaging Big Top Book"
This book tells the story of a young man thrown into the life of a circus worker after his parents are killed. The wonderful transition between times takes the listening into two very different but equally compelling settings. Brilliant !!
"Great Original Story"
Great to read an original book for a change. I knew nothing about the american circus trains, and now I do! Takes place during the American Depression. The love story is a bit lame but otherwise a terrific listen.
"I Loved it!"
A really enjoyable listen, on a par with 'The Help'. This has been one of those books I couldn't wait to get back to; it was really well structured and well read, I was thoroughly entertained the whole way through. I highly recommend this audiobook.
"Enjoyed every single second …."
It left me wanting more…. I did not want the story to end. I laughed and cried. This is a tale simply told, an account that was both funny & sad, on times illustrating the cruelty inherent in some human beings and the goodness of others. The narration was outstanding, it brought the wonderful characters to life and I could really see them through ‘Jacobs’ eyes. It also made me think about the value we place on our elderly population. Can’t wait to watch the film, hope it lives up to the book.
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