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Water for Elephants: A Novel

Water for Elephants: A Novel

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Sara Gruen

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  • Publisher: Hodder Paperback
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 36mm | 281g
  • Publication date: 7 February 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0340962720
  • ISBN 13: 9780340962725
  • Sales rank: 818

Product description

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth a second-rate travelling circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. Jacob, a veterinary student who almost earned his degree, is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her. Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford. Water for Elephants was a major movie starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon.

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Author information

Sara Gruen is the #1 bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House. She lives in Western Northern Carolina with her husband and three children. Her new novel, At The Water's Edge, will be published by Two Roads in June 2015. Learn more about Sara and her books on her website, www.saragruen.com.

Customer reviews

By siobhan 08 Jan 2012 2

This was a great disappointment. The circus background is interesting and well researched, but the characters are superficial and boring. Apart from the feisty Jacob of the nursing home, the rest of the characters are two dimensional and underdeveloped. I felt I was reading a simple fairytale for adults. Definitely Chick Lit for the beach only. My edition contained an excerpt from another book, Ape House, which is written in a totally different style and seems much more engaging.

By sandie fletcher 16 May 2011 5

this is one of the best books I have read in ages.
The characters are immensely appealing, the subject matter fascinating and the writing is really quite beautiful.
I got it out of the library after hesitating to buy it.. and now have ordered my own copy to re-read.
Sat up till early hours because I couldnt bear to put it down .
Delightful, hope the movie doesn't wreck it.

By Tony 09 Jan 2011 4

Really enjoyed reading this book. It explores the relationships between the characters amist the trials and tribulations of a travelling circus. I found the book enjoyable and my imagination was given a lots to feast upon! i hope the film due this year fufills my expectations.

By Adelaide Healy 23 Dec 2010 4

Once you start, it's hard to put down this book! Romance, animals, history - it's all accounted for. I highly reccomend :)

By Melissa Farrugia 11 Sep 2010 5

A very enjoyable read. A book richly filled in with descriptive and interesting characters and scenarios. A very impressive job from the author that undertook an expansive research about the circus, the circus life and the behind the scenes. The book really kept my attention all through out and it just took me a few days to read it, plus it kept in my mind long after finishing it!! Enjoy the book ;)

Review quote

'Gruen brilliantly conjures up the whole brouhaha of herding punters into the temporary magic of the big top, and the harsh economic reality of sustaining the show. Both exotic and erotic, Water for Elephants is filled with colour and passion but is also charged with an elegiac sense of loss for an entire way of life.' Financial Times 'I loved Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Great story, loads of fun; hard to put down. So what if the heroine weighs 2500 pounds?' Stephen King You are so immersed in circus life that you are completely blinded by the thrilling, fatal dazzle of sequins and sawdust. Daily Telegraph There is a tender story of first love, of murder, mayhem and animal and human brutality, of hucksters, whores and the general hoopla created when the circus rolls into town... This book is every bit the fabulous escapist entertainment that the big top once was. Sunday Express Lovely and mesmerising. Kirkus This masterpiece of storytelling is a book about what animals can teach people about love. Susan Cheever 'It's a romantic story that's set in an evocatively rendered era.' Heat 'The writing conjures up the smells and sounds of the circus, the excitement and the magic, as well as the rather tawdry seediness and the both casual and overt brutality... The delightful, fairy-tale ending left me smiling for days at the imagery conjured up by it.' new books 'Definitely worth catching up with if you've missed it so far.' Choice 'Water for Elephants is fun, sweet and thrilling and will pull you into the mysterious life of the circus so far that you won't want to leave.' Guardian 'Trust us, Water for Elephants is going to be one of the surprise hits of 2011. Sara Gruen's very readable novel is a story of impossible love set in the circus world during the 1930s and is set to be made into a blockbuster film starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. You heard it here first.' Good Housekeeping 'the ending gives you a lift and shows that good triumphs over evil.' Epoch Times 'The most magical, haunting novel I've read in the past few years.' Daisy Waugh, Tatler 'one of my favourite reads last year. It was so cinematic I just knew there would have to be a Hollywood movie... Star of both the book and the movie is Rosie the elephant who is more intelligent and photogenic than any other member of the cast. And that's saying something because the two main human stars are the impossibly beautiful Reese Witherspoon and Twilight heart-throb Robert Pattinson.' The Sun