A brilliantly crafted and deeply moving novel, Water For Elephants is the tale of Jacob Jankowski, now in his nineties, who spends his remaining days fondly drifting through the memories of his early Depression-era youth which was spent in the company of circus freaks, clowns and misfits.
Jankowski, a poverty-stricken and recently orphaned young man growing up during the Great Depression, had exhausted all of his options when opportunity presented itself in the form of a chance encounter with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a travelling circus that largely consisted of inexperienced amateur performers who were lucky to have any work at all. It was here that he was to meet and befriend colorful characters such as Rosie the untrainable elephant who couldn't follow the simplest of commands and Marlena, the circus star who had fallen in love with and married the mean-spirited yet charmingly attractive circus boss. The loving bond and friendship that eventually formed between Jacob, Marlena and Rosie allowed them to weather this challenging period in America's history and ultimately shaped their lives in ways they could never have initially foreseen.
Originally written by acclaimed novelist Sara Gruen for National Novel Writing Month, Water For Elephants is a rare gem in the literary world, a thoroughly captivating historical fiction novel, breathtaking in scope, that is filled with poignant moments as well as intriguing characters and a dash of humor.
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. He 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, the seemingly untrainable elephant Jacob cares for.
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