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Water for Elephants Audiobook

Water for Elephants

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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 (18111 )
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4.6 (10107 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Vicky Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada 09-08-09
    Vicky Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada 09-08-09 Member Since 2016

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
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    78
    35
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    4
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    "Loved it! Listened 2x already"

    This is one of the best books I have ever 'read'. Not only was it a great story but the old school circus background was intriquing as well. Characters are people you would like to know. I did not want it to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Genoa, IL, United States 08-30-09
    Anna Genoa, IL, United States 08-30-09 Member Since 2009

    I love books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    67
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    167
    56
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    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great listen"

    This audio book was excellently narrated. This was a great story to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen 08-23-09
    Kathleen 08-23-09 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Outstanding Narration Makes the Story"

    The story, presented from the perspectives of the 93-year old and 23-year-old hero, is lively, charming, interesting, and sensitive. The narration in the two voices is the best I have heard in dozens, and dozens of books this summer. The voice of the 93-year-old Jacob pulls you into the world of the circus, past and present, and into his life in the nursing home with deep feeling and pathos.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Somerset, NJ, USA 08-15-09
    Patricia Somerset, NJ, USA 08-15-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Pleasantly Surprised."

    Don't let the narrator turn you off in the beginning. I started listening and thought that I would hate having to listen to an old man for the duration of the book but my opinion changed very quickly and found those portions of the book endearing in no time. It was refreshing to get to the end of the book and be surprised. Most books these days are predictable but this one had a few turns in it that I didn't see coming. A good read, very entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcia Lyndhurst, OH, USA 08-13-09
    Marcia Lyndhurst, OH, USA 08-13-09
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    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    "Wonderful listen"

    I was not sure about listening to someone reading to me least of all a story. This was wonderful. Would recommend it to anyone who wants a good story read in a way that brings the story to life!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvonne CorkIreland 08-02-09
    Yvonne CorkIreland 08-02-09
    ratings
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    5
    2
    Overall
    "Lovely, lovely story!"

    Loved it and loved the narrators. Best listen in a long time!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Owen-thomas 07-25-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    44
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    "WOW"

    Been a member of Audible for years and this is by far one of the best. Couldn't stop listening...Fanastic storytelling and pure enjoyment

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MsTrebek Washington, DC 07-21-09
    MsTrebek Washington, DC 07-21-09 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Total Enjoyment!"

    What a nice surprise! This is storytelling at its best - past and present - thanks to the excellent narrators. One of the best this summer!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Belinda Somewhere, CA 07-16-09
    Belinda Somewhere, CA 07-16-09 Member Since 2016

    Marble Book

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best"

    Cannot stop listening. One of the best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Levitan Incline Village, NV United States 07-05-09
    C. Levitan Incline Village, NV United States 07-05-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    12
    9
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    1
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    Overall
    "Beautiful story, moving narration"

    This is two stories, a challenged man in his 20's, and the same man challenged at 90 (or 93, what year is this?), each leading with humor and fantastic suspence to an inevitable disaster, or, well, jeeze, just listen to the story! You'll respect elephants so much more afterwards.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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