Water for Elephants: a Novel

Water for Elephants: a Novel

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Sara Gruen

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Paperback $10.62
  • Publisher: Two Roads
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 32mm | 281g
  • Publication date: 14 April 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 144471600X
  • ISBN 13: 9781444716009
  • Edition: Media tie-in
  • Edition statement: Film tie-in edition
  • Sales rank: 1,445

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.

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Author information

Sara Gruen's first bestselling novel Riding Lessons was published in 2004. She lives with her husband, three children, five cats, two goats, a dog, and a horse. Many of the characters and incidents in the novel are based on real people and true stories gleaned from her extensive research into the world of travelling circuses during the 1930s. Her latest novel, Ape House, publishes in February 2010. www.saragruen.com

Customer reviews

By Luda 21 Nov 2011 3

Good book with a very predictable ending.

By Kate Hehir 17 Aug 2011 4

Read the book - don't watch the movie!! After seeing the film previews I was quite hesitant to open this book but right from the beginning it drew me in and I couldn't put it down. Thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of American train circuses. Quite dark, interesting characters/relationships, beautifully written. Well worth a read and has been enjoyed by friends who I passed it on to.

By Shirley Johnson 28 Jun 2011 5

This book was suggested to me as a great read. I found it a slow starter and felt myself plodding through the chapters. But suddenly it came alive, I could visualise the characters, smell the anticipation as the story unfolded until I couldn't put it down. This is not a run of the mill book, it draws you in slowly and wraps itself around your imagination until you can think of nothing else. And now I recommend it as a good read!

By Maura McIntyre 25 May 2011 5

I really loved this book,my favourite read in ages.Its not your typical chick-lit fluff you could breeze through in two sittings.There are real highs and lows.The settings,scenes and situations are so well described in such beautiful,rich language you feel you are there.You can see the vivid colours,you can smell the popcorn,you can hear the din of elephants,thundering hooves and the train on the tracks.The characters are so well drawn I could imagine what they looked like,I cared about them,I was worried,or scared or happy for them,they are real and believable.It's a romantic,beautiful,enthralling,mysterious vintage romance.

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 'Lovely and mesmerising.' -- Kirkus 'This masterpiece of storytelling is a book about what animals can teach people about love.' -- Susan Cheever '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 '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 '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 '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 '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