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Water for Elephants (Englisch) Taschenbuch – Mai 2007

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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 -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Pressestimmen

" [This] sprightly tale has a ringmaster's crowd-pleasing pace."
-- "Entertainment Weekly"

" Novelist Gruen unearths a lost world with her rich and surprising portrayal of life in a traveling circus in the '30s. An emotional tale that will please history buffs-- and others." "-- People"

" At its finest, "Water for Elephants" resembles stealth hits like 'The Giant's House, ' by Elizabeth McCracken, or 'The Lovely Bones, ' by Alice Sebold, books that combine outrageously whimsical premises with crowd-pleasing romanticism. . . . Black-and-white photographs of real American circus scenes from the first half of the century are interspersed throughout the novel, and they brilliantly evoke the dignified power contained in the quieter moments of this unusual brotherhood. . . . With a showman's expert timing, [Gruen] saves a terrific revelation for the final pages, transforming a glimpse of Americana into an enchanting escapist fairy tale."
-- "New York Times" Book Review

" You'll get lost in the tatty glamour of Gruen's meticulously researched world, from spangled equestrian pageantry and the sleazy side show to an ill-fated night at a Chicago speak-easy."
-- "Washington Post"

" Gritty, sensual and charged with dark secrets involving love, murder and a majestic, mute heroine (Rosie the Elephant)." -- Parade

" "Water for Elephants" resembles stealth hits like "The Giant's House," by Elizabeth McCracken, or "The Lovely Bones," by Alice Sebold, books that combine outrageously whimsical premises with crowd-pleasing romanticism. . . . With a showman's expert timing, [Gruen] saves a terrific revelation for the final pages, transforming a glimpse of Americana into an enchanting escapist fairy tale." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Has a ringmaster's crowd-pleasing pace" - Entertainment Weekly

"You'll get lost in the tatty glamour of Gruen's meticulously researched world, from spangled equestrian pageantry and the sleazy side show to an ill-fated night at a Chicago speak-easy"

"Lively with historical detail and unexpected turns. . . . Water for Elephants is a rich surprise, a delightful gem springing from a fascinating footnote to history that absolutely deserved to be mined."
--The Denver Post

0;Lively with historical detail and unexpected turns. . . . Water for Elephants is a rich surprise, a delightful gem springing from a fascinating footnote to history that absolutely deserved to be mined.1;
2;The Denver Post

""Water for Elephants" resembles stealth hits like "The Giant's House," by Elizabeth McCracken, or "The Lovely Bones," by Alice Sebold, books that combine outrageously whimsical premises with crowd-pleasing romanticism. . . . With a showman's expert timing, [Gruen] saves a terrific revelation for the final pages, transforming a glimpse of Americana into an enchanting escapist fairy tale."--The New York Times Book Review

When his parents are killed in a traffic accident, Jacob Jankowski hops a train after walking out on his final exams at Cornell, where he had hoped to earn a veterinary degree. The train turns out to be a circus train, and since it's the Depression, when someone with a vet's skills can attach himself to a circus if he's lucky, Jacob soon finds himself involved with the animal acts-specifically with the beautiful young Marlena, the horse rider, and her husband, August. Jacob falls for Marlena immediately, and the ensuing triangle is at the center of this novel, which follows the circus across the states. Jacob learns the ins and outs of circus life, in this case under the rule of the treacherous Uncle Al, who cheats the workers and deals roughly with patrons who complain about blatant false advertising and rip-off exhibits. Jacob and Marlena are attracted to each other, but their relationship is fairly innocent until it becomes clear that August is not merely jealous but dangerously mentally deranged. Old-fashioned and endearing, this is an enjoyable, fast-paced story told by the older Jacob, now in his nineties in a nursing home. From the author of "Riding Lessons"; recommended for all libraries.--Jim Coan, SUNY College at Oneonta "Library Journal "

"For pure story, this colorful, headlong tale of a Depression-era circus simply can't be beat. Heroes, villains, romance, a wild-animal stampede! Big fun from page 1." Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly: "Best & Worst 2007""

"Gritty, sensual and charged with dark secrets involving love, murder and a majestic, mute heroine (Rosie the Elephant)." Parade"

"[An] arresting new novel. . . . At its finest, "Water for Elephants" resembles stealth hits like 'The Giant's House, ' by Elizabeth McCracken, or 'The Lovely Bones, ' by Alice Sebold, books that combine outrageously whimsical premises with crowd-pleasing romanticism. . . . Black-and-white photographs of real American circus scenes from the first half of the century are interspersed throughout the novel, and they brilliantly evoke the dignified power contained in the quieter moments of this unusual brotherhood. . . . With a showman's expert timing, [Gruen] saves a terrific revelation for the final pages, transforming a glimpse of Americana into an enchanting escapist fairy tale." "New York Times Book Review " Vibrant . . . gritty, sensual, and charged with dark secrets involving love, murder, and a majestic, mute heroine (Rosie the Elephant). "Parade" Novelist Gruen unearths a lost world with her rich and surprising portrayal of life in a traveling circus in the '30s. An emotional tale that will please history buffs--and others. "People" [This] sprightly tale has a ringmaster's crowd-pleasing pace. "Entertainment Weekly" A compulsive page-turner . . . a fascinating setting and a richly anecdotal story that's enjoyable right up to the final, inevitable revelation. "The Onion" A rich surprise, a delightful gem springing from a fascinating footnote to history that absolutely deserved to be mined. "Denver"" Post" One of the many pleasures of this novel is the opportunity to enter a bizarrely coded and private world with its own laws, superstitions and vocabulary. . . . I couldn't bear to be torn away from it for a single minute. "Chicago"" Tribune" You'll get lost in the tatty glamour of Gruen's meticulously researched world, from spangled equestrian pageantry and the sleazy side show to an ill-fated night at a Chicago speak-easy. "Washington"" Post" "Riveting." "The Toronto Globe and Mail" Life is good for Jacob Jankowski. He s about to graduate from veterinary school and about to bed the girl of his dreams. Then his parents are killed in a car crash, leaving him in the middle of the Great Depression with no home, no family, and no career This lushly romantic novel travels back in forth in time between Jacob s present day in a nursing home and his adventures in the surprisingly harsh world of 1930s circuses just like a circus, the magic of the story and the writing convinces you to suspend your disbelief. "Booklist" Old-fashioned and endearing, this is an enjoyable, fast-paced story. "Library Journal" "Lovely and mesmerizing...genuine talent." "Kirkus Reviews" A "page-turner...Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes and freaks who populate her book." "Publishers Weekly" In this thrilling, romantic story set in a traveling circus in the 1930s, Sara Gruen has a Big Top s worth of vivid characters and an exhilarating narrative that kept me up all night. From the perseverance of a terrier named Queenie, to the charm of Rosie the elephant, this masterpiece of storytelling is a book about what animals can teach people about love. Susan Cheever, author of" My Name Is Bill" "The circus, the Great Depression, a complex elephant, equally complex love, the mists and twists of memory articulated in the utterly winning voice of a very old man who's seen it all these are the irresistible elements of "Water for Elephants." Sara Gruen has written an utterly transporting novel richly full of the stuff of life." Robert Olen Butler "So much more than a tale about a circus, "Water for Elephants" is a compelling journey not only under the big top, but into the protagonist's heart. Sara Gruen uses her talent as a writer to bring that world alive for the reader: I could smell it, taste it, feel every word of it. This is a fiction reader's dream come true." Jeanne Ray, author of "Julie and Romeo Get Lucky" Gorgeous, brilliant, and superbly plotted, "Water for Elephants" swept me into the world of the circus during the Depression and it did not let me go until the very end. I don t think it has let me go even now. Sara Gruen has a voice to rival John Irving s, and I am hopelessly, unabashedly in love with this book. Read it. Joshilyn Jackson, author of "Gods in Alabama" An entirely original, captivating story of finding love in a down-at-the-heels traveling circus in the Great Depression. Sara Gruen writes with great tenderness and breathtaking drama which makes the novel impossible to put down. Stephanie Cowell, author of "Marrying Mozart""

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Von Villette TOP 1000 REZENSENT am 20. Dezember 2014
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
"Water for Elephants" ist die fesselnde und bunte Geschichte von Jacob Jankowski. Er ist gerade so ca. 90 Jahre alt und lebt recht gebrechlich in einem Pflegeheim. Als ein Zirkus gegenüber seine Zelte aufbaut, schweifen seine Erinnerungen zurück in die 30er Jahre, als er einige Jahre lang Tierarzt in einem Zirkus war. Die Handlung kehrt zwar immer wieder in die Gegenwart zurück und gibt bissige Auskunft über Jacobs Leben im Pflegeheim, vor allem konzentriert sie sich aber auf damals. Der Leser wird hineingezogen in die Welt des Zirkus und in die Schwierigkeiten des Überlebens desselben in den Zeiten der Depression. Er erlebt einige skurrile Figuren auf amüsante Weise und echte Schweine voller Agression oder Berechnung hautnah. Eines dieser Schweine ist der eifersüchtige Ehemann der Pferdedompteuse, in die Jacob sich verliebt. Das bleibt für den Zirkus natürlich nicht ohne Folgen. Ich mochte vor allem die Zirkusatmosphäre sehr gern. Die Geschichte ist sprachlich und stilistisch gut erzählt und langweilt in keiner Minute.
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Sara Gruen's newest book, Water for Elephants, revolves around a college dropout who becomes a veterinarian for a traveling circus during the Great Depression, the beautiful star of the equestrian act with whom he falls in love, and a loyal pachyderm named Rosie. A perfect setting for this future best-seller as Sara owns two dogs, two goats, three cats and a horse. Her walls are decorated with colorful paintings made by elephants holding brushes with their trunks at a sanctuary in Thailand. 'They may not always be the central theme, but there's always going to be an animal characters,' Sara said 'Because I'd as soon write a book with no humans in it.' Amazing enough, Sara almost didn't complete this book. But you'll be glad she did--as the result is an adventurous tale of an era when more than a dozen massive circuses toured the country via railroad cars, carrying the stars of the ring and the sideshow freaks, exotic animals for showcasing in the menagerie and beasts of burden for the set-up and tear-down work.

The book's protagonist is a 90-something named Jacob Jankowski, whose memories of his youthful adventures come flooding back when a circus sets up its tents near his nursing home. Gruen doesn't devote much time in the fictional Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a slightly ragged show owned by the vulturous Uncle Al, who aspires to be as classy as Ringling Brothers but throws workers off the train when he doesn't have enough money to meet payroll. Instead, she chose to focus on the logistics of moving essentially a city of people and move them day after day after day to a different city and put up a tent town...and do it again the next day. You'll come across some of the wackiest tales of circus life found in any book.
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Von karin1910 TOP 1000 REZENSENT am 28. August 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Zunächst muss ich vorausschicken, dass ich den Film noch nicht gesehen habe (irgendwie schaffe ich es immer, den Ausstrahlungstermin zu verpassen)

Das Buch erzählt die Geschichte des Jacob Jankowski, der seinen Lebensabend in einem Altersheim verbringen muss. In Gedanken kehrt er immer wieder zurück ins Jahr 1931, als er, nachdem sein Leben durch einen Schicksalsschlag total aus den Fugen geraten war, von "The Bezini Brothers most spectacular Show on Earth" als Tierarzt angestellt wurde. Die folgenden Monate sollten ihm eine Reihe interessanter Bekanntschaften einbringen – nicht zuletzt mit der schönen Marlena und ihrem unberechenbaren Ehemann August sowie der reizenden Elefantendame Rosie – und seinem Leben eine neue Richtung geben.

Der Roman ist durchgehend in Ich-Form geschrieben, was es besonders leicht macht, sich in Jacob hineinzuversetzen.
Das Leben im Zirkus wird sehr lebendig geschildert, man merkt, dass viel Recherche dahinter steckt. Schillernde Persönlichkeiten, über manche von ihnen hätte ich gerne noch mehr erfahren, und ebenso interessante Tiere treten auf, es wird aber vor allem auch die harte und oftmals grausame Realität, wie die Schikane durch unmenschliche Arbeitgeber und die Ausweglosigkeit zu Zeiten der Wirtschaftskrise nicht ausgespart.
Obwohl der Prolog schon einiges vorwegnimmt, bleibt es doch spannend und manches entwickelt sich ganz anders als erwartet.

Trotz des aufregenden Zirkus-Lebens hat mir aber doch der in einem Altersheim der Gegenwart angesiedelte Handlungsstrang noch besser gefallen.
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This book takes you to the world of the great circusses of the beginning of the last century in the US. The life of the artists, their luck and mishaps is very well shown. The story of the young vet student who loses his parents and money and then finds a new life in the circus is one of warmth and human touch. The heart of the reader is nearly broken when the elefant Rosy suffers so much and the directors of the circus for money reasons are cruel with their personel and with their animals. The writing is easy and it is hard to stop. Very recommendable fiction with a lot of plots.
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