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.
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An Elephant You Will Remember
A story about a depression-era college drop-out working with circus animals, recalled through the eyes of the cantankerous Jacob, now a very aware 93 yrs. old, deposited away at a nursing home. Poignant and unsettling symmetries: the illusion of romantic and whimsical circus life--the scene of men struggling to put food on the family tables; the grand funeral for the fat lady led by a parade of decorated horses and animals--the brutal unceremonious elimination of throwing men who have out-lived their usefulness from the speeding circus train in the night; Rosie the elephant in the cotton candy pink headdress gently plucking candy from delighted children--the circus freaks and seedy backtents just for the menfolk. You will think about the parallels of how we treat our elderly, our animals, those less fortunate, and the illusions society has built around our own ugliness that threaten our dignity and compassion. A sad and sometime brutal tale, but you will get a smile on your face when Rosie pulls up her stake and sneaks a tub of lemonade intended for staff, and when old Jacob aims his walker at the nursing home door...It's never too late to run away to the circus--or from it. Top rate production, one of the best performances you will hear in audiobooks.
Great book, Great Audio, Great Narrators
I love listening to audiobooks and have listened to books from the teen to adult demographic. This is one of the best readings I have ever listened too. Both narrators are wonderful and did a great job of expressing the book. The book is a wonderful expression of the same life in two worlds. Gruen did a great job of connecting them with a sweet ending. What a lovely, intriguing book!
Water for Elephants
I hesitated before spending the money. Wasn't sure it was a story line I would enjoy. So glad I made the purchase! Best narration of an audio book EVER, and worth every penny! If I could give a dozen stars, I would.