Jaffy Brown is running along a street in London's East End when he comes face to face with an escaped circus animal. Rescued by Mr Jamrach - explorer, entrepreneur and collector of the world's strangest creatures - the two strike up a friendship. Before he knows it, Jaffy finds himself on board a ship bound for the Dutch East Indies. His journey will push faith, love and friendship to their utmost limits.
Carol Birch's epic novel brings alive the smells, sights and flavours of the nineteenth century, from the docks of London to the storms of the Indian Ocean: a gripping exploration of our relationship to the natural world and the wildness it contains.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Charles on 25-10-11
I was very much looking forward to listening to this book; based upon both its good reviews elsewhere and its shortlisting for the Booker Prize. Having done so I can confidently state both that it is well written with some very powerful scenes and also very well read. Unfortunately I didn't particularly enjoy it and the only reason I can suggest is that no matter how exciting or traumatic the adventures experienced by the narrator and his companions I felt oddly distant from the action. Perhaps this was because I found it difficult to empathise or identify with or even particularly like any of them. I appreciate that this is a purely personal reaction and others may fare better but I thought it worth mentioning in case you are thinking of spending a credit on the book.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
By Chris on 01-11-11
Not for me
I found some of the passages in this this book rather disturbing and suspect that many others will feel the same. It is difficult to warn people of exactly what themes are involved without 'spoiling' the storyline, suffice it to say that there are quite graphic descriptions of themes that many will find abhorrent. This is not to say that the book is not well written - it is. When the story rolls along, as it sometimes does, this is a good yarn well told. However, there are numerous pauses for description and philosophy which hold up the storytelling to the detriment of the whole. And it is this, rather than the disturbing scenes, that reduces my rating to three stars.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful