Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants

Sara Gruen

An old-fashioned circus novel with plenty of action and excitement but few if any laughs and a love interest which is fraught with danger. The circus is something you either love or hate and if you’re squeamish about the treatment of performing animals, this might not be for you. Good descriptions of desperate men living through the economic turmoil of the American depression. A brutal era, powerfully drawn.



Extract

I raise the knife, holding it in both hands, its tip poised to two feet above his throat. I need to do this right. I adjust the blade's angle to maximise side-to-side damage. The train passes out of the trees, and a thin streak of moonlight catches the blade. It glints, throwing tiny shards of light as I make adjustments to the angle. August moves again, snoring and rolling violently onto his back ....

I lean over him and lay the knife carefully on Marlena's pillow. I stare for a few seconds longer then leave.

Parallels
  • The Circus Age by Janet M Davis
  • Under the Big Top by Bruce Feiler