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)
This is a wonderful book, and also one of the best narrations I've encountered in an audiobook. The two narrators are excellent actors, and I was quickly engaged in both. The humor in the book was brought out extremely well by the narrators, and I laughed a lot while listening. In the last three hours, I could not stop listening - but now that it's over I'm sad to be done with it.
From the beginning to the end of this tale I felt like I was in the skin of character. His love for the animals and his lady gave me insight to the life during the depression and life in the circus. The author and narrator(s) did a great job of keeping it real and making me feel the heartbeat of plot.
I got so much out of this book told in two voices; the man at 23 and the same man at 93. It was an astounding story. I thought about it for days after finishing.
This story of a veterinary student who loses everything and joins a circus is told through the eyes of a young man and the old man he becomes. It is a touching and tender story of love and loss, richly drawn with characters you'll remember long after you finish the book. The readers - one young, the other old - are exceptional.
But also was very well written to evoke such deep feelings, feelings of rage, hate, happiness, sadness and nostalgia. I loved both readers, the narration is done very well; never getting lost within past and present. Highly recommend.
This is an interesting story with good plot and character development. What made it wonderful was the narration - two actors/narrators played (and read) the roles of young and old Jacob. They were outstanding and made the story come alive.
This is a book that can be read, and read again. Sara Gruen has a written a heart warming tale of Jacob Jablonsky, a would-be vetinarian, who as a result of personal tragedy, finds himself working for a circus during the depression era. Ms. Gruen deftly juxtaposes the old and the young Jacob, facing life's challenges and making decisons that define who they are and whom they will be. An elephant never forgets.....and I will never forget this novel.
Sarah Gruen's novel is the best read I have had all year!!! He portrayal of her aging protagenist is so genuine and realistic.
This is an absolute must read for anyone with aging parents or caring for the elderly. It is insightful and funny. A real breath of fresh air.
Water for Elephants is destine to be a classic
I just want to say that both readers were awesome. This book had me looking forward to my commute. The writing was so vivid, it was almost like watching a movie. I highly recommend this wonderful listen.
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