Water for Elephants: A Novel

4.07 avg rating
( 1,088,898 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9781565124998: Water for Elephants: A Novel

Over 10,000,000 copies in print worldwide
#1 New York Times Bestseller
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
A Newsday Favorite Book of 2006
A USA Today Bestseller
A Major Motion Picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz
 

Jacob Janowski’s luck had run out?orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was the Great Depression and for Jacob the circus was both his salvation and a living hell. There he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but brutal animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this group of misfits was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Jacob Jankowski says: "I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other." At the beginning of Water for Elephants, he is living out his days in a nursing home, hating every second of it. His life wasn't always like this, however, because Jacob ran away and joined the circus when he was twenty-one. It wasn't a romantic, carefree decision, to be sure. His parents were killed in an auto accident one week before he was to sit for his veterinary medicine exams at Cornell. He buried his parents, learned that they left him nothing because they had mortgaged everything to pay his tuition, returned to school, went to the exams, and didn't write a single word. He walked out without completing the test and wound up on a circus train. The circus he joins, in Depression-era America, is second-rate at best. With Ringling Brothers as the standard, Benzini Brothers is far down the scale and pale by comparison.

Water for Elephants is the story of Jacob's life with this circus. Sara Gruen spares no detail in chronicling the squalid, filthy, brutish circumstances in which he finds himself. The animals are mangy, underfed or fed rotten food, and abused. Jacob, once it becomes known that he has veterinary skills, is put in charge of the "menagerie" and all its ills. Uncle Al, the circus impresario, is a self-serving, venal creep who slaps people around because he can. August, the animal trainer, is a certified paranoid schizophrenic whose occasional flights into madness and brutality often have Jacob as their object. Jacob is the only person in the book who has a handle on a moral compass and as his reward he spends most of the novel beaten, broken, concussed, bleeding, swollen and hungover. He is the self-appointed Protector of the Downtrodden, and... he falls in love with Marlena, crazy August's wife. Not his best idea.

The most interesting aspect of the book is all the circus lore that Gruen has so carefully researched. She has all the right vocabulary: grifters, roustabouts, workers, cooch tent, rubes, First of May, what the band plays when there's trouble, Jamaican ginger paralysis, life on a circus train, set-up and take-down, being run out of town by the "revenooers" or the cops, and losing all your hooch. There is one glorious passage about Marlena and Rosie, the bull elephant, that truly evokes the magic a circus can create. It is easy to see Marlena's and Rosie's pink sequins under the Big Top and to imagine their perfect choreography as they perform unbelievable stunts. The crowd loves it--and so will the reader. The ending is absolutely ludicrous and really quite lovely. --Valerie Ryan

Book Description:

An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons.

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob 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.

Beautifully written, 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.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Sara Gruen
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller
LVeritas
(Newton, MA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Gift Quality Book in Excellent Condition. Bookseller Inventory # 36SEQU000HT9

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 13.59
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Sara Gruen
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
READERS PRIDE
(PLANO, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: BRAND NEW. NEW Book in Mint Condition -- Great DEAL !! Fast Shipping -- Friendly Customer Service -- Buy with Confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # RP1565124995BN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 10.70
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.95
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Sara Gruen
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller
LVeritas
(Newton, MA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Gift Quality Book in Excellent Condition. Bookseller Inventory # 36SFFI0000ZC

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 14.45
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Sara Gruen
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Castle Rock
(Pittsford, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97815651249981.0

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 14.93
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Gruen, Sara
Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Hardcover Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1565124995 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI2122526065

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 15.12
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Gruen, Sara
Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Hardcover Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1565124995 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI2122526066

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 15.12
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Sara Gruen
Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (2006)
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 1565124995

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 20.26
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Gruen, Sara
Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2006-05-26 (2006)
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
M and N Media
(Acworth, GA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2006-05-26, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Roughcut. 1565124995 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Bookseller Inventory # TM-1565124995

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 20.79
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Sara Gruen
Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (2006)
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Roughcut. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX1565124995

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 20.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Sara Gruen
Published by Algonquin Press of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC (2006)
ISBN 10: 1565124995 ISBN 13: 9781565124998
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Bayleaf Books
(Port Orchard, WA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Algonquin Press of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 2006. Roughcut. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Thus. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. First Edition. No marks. Binding has a lean. VG dust jacket shows a slight damptstain on the invisible side of it. Very good-looking copy. Bookseller Inventory # 000999

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 22.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book