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 loved this story. The main character was well developed and it had a few twists that kept me guessing. I even stayed in the car a little longer to see what happened next. And besides, how many stories have you read that take place on a circus train?
This book grabs you right away and doesn't let you go. From the character development to the descriptions of everything having to do with a circus in the 1920's. Fabulous detail, and great plot line. Plus the two readers were perfect- both soundling like they had actually lived this life they are narrating. Simply wonderful.
I am not usually a big fan of historic fiction, but decided to try this one due to the wonderful reviews. I was not disappointed. It was a fabulous well written story. I loved every minute of it. The characters and setting are well detailed and it does not lack in action or plot. I have already recommended it to many friends.
One of the two best audiobooks I've listened to in the last three years. Beautifully written; amazing voice performances. If you love audiobooks, don't pass this one up.
Avid audible listener. Favorite writers: Stephen king, Bryce Courtenay, R. R. Martin Fav narrators: Humphrey bower, Roy Dotrice, Frank Muller, Robin Miles
Loved it. Magical. Great ending. A human story.
This is by far one of the best books I have ever "read" I loved the story, and the readers. It was the first book that everyone in my whole book club loved. We all agreed that the writer wrote in a style that we all identified with. I knew when I read that "the tuba's farted", that this would be a special novel. I learned so much about the circus and the depression era. I recommend this to everyone...
What a dynamite story - I loved the recall way in which it was written, starting off with the memory of age and then going through the past. This is one of those rare reads that I have listened to more than twice. I highly recommend this book.
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end, I listened to the entire thing on an overseas flight in one sitting, that is quite a feat for me. I loved the characters and the animals were wonderfully described (Queenie made me miss my dog even more than normal), and the narration was nothing less than superb.
Other reviewers comment on the wonderful and unusual story. But, the narrators. There are two, one who speaks as the protagonist in his 20s (and in the 1930s) and the other in his 90s. The former is good. The latter is extraordinary as an old man in a nursing home. The writer gives a touching view of one living out his last days in a situation many of us will experience. A bit scary.
Love books, all kinds, all shapes, all formats! Audiobooks have made my daily commute so much less stressful! Major fan of Audible.
Wonderful story. Excellent performances. A true delight to get to look forward to each commute in my car - just to get to hear the next installment of this wonderful audiobook!
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