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)
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!
What a wonderful story! I enjoyed both readers, very easy to listen to on my morning walks. I couldn't wait to hit the pavement in the morning just so I could listen to the book. I was pleasantly surprised!
I am amazed how much I love this book since I was hesitant to invest a lot of time on a fictional novel about circus people. Was I surprised to find this novel was packed full of suspense, drama, mystery, survival and romance. The book is so incredible, I could hardly put it down. I like a well rounded story with all the elements of suspense, drama, action, mystery, romance and believable characters, and this one has it all and lots more. Can't remember the last time I read a book that brought real tears to my eyes. Bravo to the author and the wonderful narrators!
I couldn't ask for more. This book was interesting, engaging, funny, tragic and heartwarming. I loved it and recommended it to a half dozen friends after listening. What a great time. I didn't want it to end.
I enjoyed this novel about a rag-tag circus during the Depression. Jacob J. is a compelling main character and narrator. It's a good book for a long road trip - kept me engaged til the end.
This book is truly different. The characters are entertaining and the book is hard to put down. If you like history with your fiction, this book is for you.
This is one of the best books I've listened to. The two narrators added flavor and kept the pace going. It felt like I've known Jacob all my life. Made me remember the first time I went to the circus as a child and want to go there now with either Jacob. A very thought-provoking, poignant but happy book.
"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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