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The Elephant Keepers' Children Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 23, 2012
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“A picaresque tale that probes society’s little hypocrisies while offering an original array of characters. At first glance, an utterly fun, absorbing read.” —Library Journal
"Told with poignancy and humor, The Elephant Keepers' Children is a fascinating exploration of fundamentalism versus spiritual freedom, the vicissitudes of romantic and familial love, and the triumph of the human spirit" —Examiner
"It succeeds in being extremely funny while also wrestling with deeper philosophical questions about the role of religion in society and individual choice." —Huffington Post
"Thought-provoking and cheerfully absorbing, The Elephant Keepers’ Children is a worthwhile and fun story." —Times Online
"This book manages to be both highly entertaining and seriously thought provoking. I must also mention the flawless translation, which allows us to step into the streets of Copenhagen and to enjoy Høeg’s play with words. Peter regales us with tales of his hilarious misdeeds on one page and delves into the true nature of spirituality on the next. I closed this book feeling wiser." —Three Percent
"A thriller of sorts this is, but it’s more humorous than frightening, more of a caper than a mystery, and more of a coming-of-age story than a suspense yarn...Under the madcap adventure story Høeg poses serious issues about neglected children, venal church officials, and the paths to intellectual and spiritual freedom." —Publishers Weekly
"Part comic teenage adventure story, part intellectual debate, the best-selling Danish author's sixth novel is a shaggy-dog story with a unique vision...Høeg has an endless menu of oddities to stir into his story; whether thriller, fantasy or disuisition on spiritual belief, love and parenting does successfully invent an inexhaustible landscape all its own" —Kirkus
"This is the novel of the winter to restore your faith in the magic of human experience." —Washington Independent Review of Books
"The lunacy of a spiritually addicted culture motors this soberhearted screwball comedy from the author of Smilla’s Sense of Snow." —International Herald Tribune
"Peter Høeg displays a glorious facility for the absurd as well as the picaresque, and the hilarity of Peter Finø's narrative makes this a delightful novel." —The Guardian
"Bizarre, philosophical (in an Eastern spirituality way), magically real, with more than enough action and twists, this novel is delivered in a unique voice." —Psychology Today
"Høeg is most notable as the author of Simila’s Sense of Snow. You’ll find The Elephant Keepers' Children a less violent, equally mystical novel." —Boston Book Bums
"As soon as I opened to page one, and met fourteen-year-old Peter, I was hooked...It's really a crime thriller, yet filled with mystical characters and a surprising amount of laughs." —Kick Ass Book Reviews
About the Author
Martin Aitken holds a PhD in linguistics and gave up university tenure to translate literature. Novels in his translation have been published on both sides of the Atlantic, and his translations of Danish short stories and poetry have appeared in The Literary Review, AGNI, Boston Review, and A Public Space, among other publications. He lives in rural Denmark.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
In many ways, it's a very different style of book to "Miss Smilla" but it retains elements of the same charm and playfulness without the more moody, lyrical style. It's almost compulsory for Scandinavian writers to feature some kind of crime solving element to their books it seems (at least those that get translated into English) and while "The Elephant Keepers' Children" isn't your typical "Inspector Norse" story, it has at its warm heart a crime that young Peter and his siblings, the feisty Tilte and the older Hans, together with Peter's faithful dog, set out to prevent, not least as it appears that their parents are the likely perpetrators fo the crime.
Despite what you might expect from the title, Peter's parents are not zoological guardians of any kind. His father is a church minister on the fictitious Danish island of Finø, where he is accompanied on the organ by his wife, whose prodigious electronic and engineering skills have also helped her partner her husband in the faking of miracles that got them into trouble with the authorities before.Read more ›
Along the way, they are aided or hindered by a wild assortment of characters with names reflecting the oddity of life on Fino, the island where they live: Bodil Hippopotamus, the municipal director of the community; Anaflabia Borderrud, the Bishop of Grena; and Leonora Ticklepalate, the head nun of a Buddhist community, computer genius, and counselor in a program that offers sexual-cultural coaching. Polly Pigonia heads the Hindu community and runs the main branch of Fino Bank, while Sinbad Al-Babblab is the imam of the Muslim community.
All these characters are scheduled to gather in Copenhagen, where a religious synod is being held as a way to bring peace among the various religions. The synod will also involve a valuable display of religious artifacts, including jewel-encrusted crucifixes. Four "floaters," three men and one woman, may be terrorists planning havoc at the synod - unless they are stopped - and the issue of guns and explosives and who has them lurks as a threat.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really loved this book. There were two general main ideas that I really identified with. First, was the idea of everyone having elephants. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Margaret Carmel
This is a book where you do not know, cannot conceive, have no clue where the next sentence, or the next paragraph is going. Read morePublished 14 months ago by BiblioGuide
Loved it for its astute observations, its humour and its heart.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
Bewildered by the whole thing...either brilliant or stupid. Must be the Danes sense of humor because I didn't find it entertaining. All I could do to finish it.Published 15 months ago by Brisas
Entertaining but uneven. Told in the first person by a 14 year old boy who sees the world around him in a very intelligent, perceptive yet quirky way. Read morePublished 17 months ago by RY
Life doesn't need to be so serious! This novel is great fun. A wonderful combination of exotic characters and down to earth reflection. Enjoy!Published 22 months ago by Lesley Bretag