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HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
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The Elephant Keeper Kindle Edition
From the Inside Flap
I asked the sailor what an Elephant looked like; he replied that it was like nothing on earth.
England, 1766: After a long voyage from the East Indies, a ship docks in Bristol, England, and rumor quickly spreads about its unusual cargo--some say a mermaid is on board. A crowd forms, hoping to catch a glimpse of the magical creature. One crate after another is unpacked: a zebra, a leopard, and a baboon. There's no mermaid, but in the final two crates is something almost as magical--a pair of young elephants, in poor health but alive.
Seeing a unique opportunity, a wealthy sugar merchant purchases the elephants for his country estate and turns their care over to a young stable boy, Tom Page. Tom's family has long cared for horses, but an elephant is something different altogether. It takes time for Tom and the elephants to understand one another, but to the surprise of everyone on the estate, a remarkable bond is formed.
The Elephant Keeper, the story of Tom and the elephants, in Tom's own words, moves from the green fields and woods of the English countryside to the dark streets and alleys of late-eighteenth-century London, reflecting both the beauty and the violence of the age. Nicholson's lush writing and deft storytelling complement a captivating tale of love and loyalty between one man and the two elephants that change the lives of all who meet them.--Times Literary Supplement (London) --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
"A pleasingly ambling tale."--Financial Times
"A sensitive boy suddenly becomes groom to Timothy and Jenny, the first pair of young elephants brought into England in the 1700s. This informative, engaging and moving book has clear insight into the impact of poverty, alienation and isolation that is as relevant today as it was then."--San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"An endearing account of a virtually telepathic relationship between man and animal."--Booklist
"Nicholson's light touch and sly humor ensures that the animal-human dialogue is entirely natural and intensely moving. (An) exceptional novel."--Boston Globe
"THE ELEPHANT KEEPER is a strange tour of late 18th-century England, a natural history of elephants and the story of a most unusual friendship, all told with a touch of the otherworldly elegance and wit of Babar."--Washington Post
"While deftly portraying 18th century village and estate life as well as the dark, fog-bound streets of London, The Elephant Keeper examines themes such as human choice, fate and the cruel British class system."--Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[Nicholson's] lush new novel of the late 18th century...Jenny is a magnificent character...She gives the book its weight, in every sense...the sheer richness of the story's texture. The Elephant Keeper evokes 18th-century village and estate life beautifully, and is stuffed with fascinating data from medical and veterinary history."--The Independent (UK)
"A captivatingly original novel...This is a wonderful feat of story-telling, remarkable for its ability to wrench your heart without resorting to easy sentimentality."--Daily Mail (London)
"An extended meditation on human needs and how our choices shape a better or lesser existance. [A] poignant, heartfelt novel."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B002RI9DB0
- Publisher : Fourth Estate (13 February 2009)
- Language : English
- File size : 706 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 414 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0061774839
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,263,196 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The problem was that my pleasure in reading this tender story, told in such a lovely, uplifting way, was somewhat spoiled by the unremittingly sombre mood of the final section. The direction it took was inevitable, but it was just a bit too relentless. Also, the final few pages (where the author takes over the narration) are distinctly odd, and felt overly sentimental. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful and highly original story, and so cleverly crafted that it reads as a credible piece of writing by a young man with a good brain but a limited formal education. Nicholson shrewdly avoids giving Tom a modern sensibility: he does and says things that might surprise us, but are very much in tune with his era. And good use is made of the research, with fascinating facts imparted in clever ways that avoid a sense of contrivance.
There are some interesting themes: the role that truth plays in our lives, and why we sometimes choose deceit or pretence; the exploitation and abuse inherent in the relationship between master and servant; and what it means to be a human being, in comparison with other animals. But these themes never weigh heavily on the reader, and there are frequent touches of humour. All in all, an excellent book, from a gifted author. (His debut novel, The Fattest Man in America, is also good: more limited in its storyline, but with a hugely (excuse pun!) congenial narrator and, again, some wonderful stuff about exploitation.)
It was interesting and endearing.