Water for Elephants: about the author

If you’ve ever wondered about the process of researching and writing a book, Sara Gruen talked with Dave Weich of Powell’s Books about how she came to writing fiction, the challenges of finishing the book, and how a woman who’d never been to the circus before starting Water for Elephants comes to write a novel about the Big Top.

How convincing is the narrative to you? Is it easy to suspend the disbelief that is isn’t really Jacob Jankowski telling the tale? Why or why not?

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One response to “Water for Elephants: about the author

  1. I will truthfully admit that I have a bit of trouble believing Mr. Jankowski is telling the tale. For some reason, I began the story with the notion that the narrator was a woman. It was not until after the prologue and a few pages into the first chapter that I realized Jacob was indeed the narrator.

    Although I quickly learned to accept that simple fact, I am still having trouble believing in Jacob as a ninety-three year old man. Perhaps I inexplicably feel that Jacob, as a cranky, old person in an assisted living center, is a bit too contrived of a character. Even though I’m sure his history with the circus will ultimately define his individual nature, he doesn’t feel like someone unique to me. Just someone that seemed like a good protagonist for the author.

    My mind perked when I recognized the first-person narration of this story; I love the feeling of being able to connect with a character, especially one whose mind I can bury myself in (i.e., the narrator). But, for some reason, I just can’t seem to connect with Jacob – because I can’t believe him to be real.

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