Books·Canadian

Water For Elephants

Sara Gruen's novel follows an orphaned and penniless young man as he joins a circus at the height of the Great Depression.

Sara Gruen

Orphaned and penniless at the height of the Depression, Jacob Jankowski escapes everything he knows by jumping on a passing train-and inadvertently runs away with the circus. So begins Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen's darkly beautiful tale about the characters who inhabit the less-than-greatest show on earth.

Jacob finds a place tending the circus animals, including a seemingly untrainable elephant named Rosie. He also comes to know Marlena, the star of the equestrian act-and wife of August, a charismatic but cruel animal trainer. Caught between his love for Marlena and his need to belong in the crazy family of travelling performers, Jacob is freed only by a murderous secret that will bring the big top down.

Water for Elephants is an enchanting page-turner, the kind of book that creates a world that engulfs you from the first page to the last. (From HarperCollins Canada)

From the book

When you are five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties, you know how old you are. I'm twenty-three you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties, something strange starts to happen. It is a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I'm — you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you are not. You're thirty-five. And then you're bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it's decades before you admit it.


From Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen ©2006. Published by HarperCollins.

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