The Elephant of Belfast: A Novel Audiobook, by S. Kirk Walsh Play Audiobook Sample

The Elephant of Belfast: A Novel Audiobook

The Elephant of Belfast: A Novel Audiobook, by S. Kirk Walsh Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Charlotte McCurry Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 7.17 hours at 1.5x Speed 5.38 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: April 2021 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9781665032278

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

70:09 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

21:40 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

43:25 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

Inspired by true events, this vivid and moving story of a young woman zookeeper and the elephant she’s compelled to protect through the German blitz of Belfast during WWll

Belfast, October 1940. Twenty-year-old zookeeper Hettie Quin arrives at the city docks in time to meet her new charge: an orphaned three-year-old Indian elephant named Violet. As Violet adjusts to her new solitary life in captivity and Hettie mourns the recent loss of her sister and the abandonment of her father, new storm clouds gather. A world war rages, threatening a city already reeling from escalating tensions between British Loyalists and those fighting for a free and unified Ireland.

The relative peace is shattered by air-raid sirens on the evening of Easter Tuesday 1941. Over the course of the next five hours, hundreds of bombs rain down upon Belfast, claiming almost a thousand lives and decimating the city. Dodging the debris and carnage of the Luftwaffe attack, Hettie runs to the zoo to make sure that Violet is unharmed. The harrowing ordeal and ensuing aftermath set the pair on a surprising path that highlights the indelible, singular bond that often brings mankind and animals together during horrifying times.

Inspired by a largely forgotten chapter of World War II, S. Kirk Walsh deftly renders the changing relationship between Hettie and Violet, and their growing dependence on each other for survival and solace. The Elephant of Belfast is a complicated and beguiling portrait of hope and resilience—and how love can sustain us during the darkest moments of our lives.

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“Walsh’s research pays dividends for the reader as the sights, sounds, and smells of Belfast rise in the imagination.”

— Lone Star Review 


  • “Vividly evokes the speed with which war makes the commonplace surreal.”

    — New Yorker
  • “It is the second step of recovery, after all, to believe in something bigger than yourself, like an elephant.”

    — Michigan Public Radio
  • “Historical fiction at its best.”

    — Washington Independent Review of Books
  • “Hettie and Violet’s bond is one to treasure.”

    — Publishers Weekly
  • “Action is heart-pounding; the imagery vivid; the message universal.”

    — Historical Novels Review
  • “A vivid novel of redemption and mutual care.”

    — New York Times Book Review


  • A Kirkus Reviews Pick of the Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2021

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About S. Kirk Walsh

S. Kirk Walsh is a writer living in Austin, Texas. Her work has been widely published in the New York Times Book Review, Longreads, StoryQuarterly, and Electric Literature, among other publications. Over the years, she has been a resident at Ucross, Yaddo, Ragdale, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is the founder of Austin Bat Cave, a writing and tutoring center that provides free writing workshops for young writers.