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Water for Elephants Audiobook

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

4.4 (16676 )
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4.4 (8871 )
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4.5 (8793 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rebecca san jose, CA, USA 04-01-08
    Rebecca san jose, CA, USA 04-01-08 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "Great!"

    Both the story and the reading are out of this world. It resonated with me for days after finishing it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. J. Benyei 03-26-08 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    258
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    245
    36
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    12
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    Overall
    "Superb!"

    My computer just deleted my 800 word review, but I liked this book so much that I am starting over and writing anotehr because it would be a sin not to spread the word. This is by far the best audio book I have ever listened to. Certainly not the best literary work of all time, but without doubt the best story ever told. I am an avid reader, and sometimes books don't translate well to the spoken word, but this was written to be read aloud. The narrators are superb. This story should be TOLD, not read. The story telling is so phenomenal you feel like you are there. I was spellbound by both narrators just minutes into the book. I found myself crying like a little girl at times (never did that before) and at others physically furious with the antagonists. Angry! Imagine that, at imaginary characters? That is how engrossing this is. I feel like Jacob is my friend who told me his story, I want to call him on the phone and talk to him more, I will miss not hearing from him.
    As a warning: some parts may be a little hard to listen to for the real softies out there, especially the animal lovers. The book isn't vulgar at all, or overly in your face violent, but it is heart wrenching in some places. Don't let that deter you. Get this audio book, you will love it, and you will listen to it over and over.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colin Manly, NSW, Australia 03-22-08
    Colin Manly, NSW, Australia 03-22-08 Member Since 2014

    Live in Sydney, Australia. South African heritage. Love audio books. Constant company on my non-stop business travels.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    27
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    4
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    "Lost"

    As a constant consumer of audio books having 'read' 100's, every now and then a book comes along that completely engages the mind, heart and body. Listening to books allows one to engage in activity - driving, exercising, cleaning, work - however 'Elephants' demanded my attention. The richness of the story and the brilliant reading simply combine to create a wonderful experience.
    Loved it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa ChristchurchNew Zealand 03-18-08
    Lisa ChristchurchNew Zealand 03-18-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Water for Elephants"

    My first ever audible book. A fantastic read, used it for exercising (walking) - my dog wondered why we were walking for so long! Lisa Judd, Christchurch, New Zealand

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Petersburg, PA, United States 03-16-08
    Patricia Petersburg, PA, United States 03-16-08 Member Since 2016
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    20
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    37
    12
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    "Do not miss this one!"

    I laughed. I cried. So will you. A beautifully done book. Essentially it is the flashback of a man who worked for a traveling circus. He was finishing up Vet school when events sent him to the circus. Now, he is at the end of his life so the story jumps effectively between now and then. A "must" title to have in your audivle library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Knoxville, TN, USA 03-07-08
    Jeffrey Knoxville, TN, USA 03-07-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    3
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "A well-told tale"

    To be honest I could not even remember what prompted me to download this book but it was highly entertaining. The two narrators, one representing the young, 20-something Jacob, and the other, a 90-something Jacob, are superb. The ending is a bit predictable for the younger Jacob and somewhat of a stretch for the older Jacob but the path the storyline takes to get you there makes it well worth the journey.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Voss 03-06-08
    J. Voss 03-06-08

    vossj12

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    41
    3
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    0
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    "One veterinarian to another"

    What a fabulous tale. Crafted perfectly between the protagonists memories and present life. The details of how he came to be a pseudo veterinarian due to person catastrophe are believable. What a riveting tale!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Bronx, NY, United States 03-05-08
    Jennifer Bronx, NY, United States 03-05-08 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
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    94
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    2
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    "Wonderful book - well worth the money!"

    Really one of the few books that was engaging from beginning to end. Very entertaining and well written. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CH Kaufman NY 02-26-08
    CH Kaufman NY 02-26-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    27
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    "Terrific"

    I loved this book, one of those I slowed down at the end to make it last. Very moving and emotinal

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle waycross, GA, USA 02-21-08
    Michelle waycross, GA, USA 02-21-08 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    93
    20
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    1
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    Overall
    "delightful"

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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