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Jamrach’s Menagerie tells the story of a nineteenth-century street urchin named Jaffy Brown. Following an incident with an escaped tiger, Jaffy goes to work for Mr. Charles Jamrach, the famed importer of exotic animals, alongside Tim, a good but sometimes spitefully competitive boy. Thus begins a long, close friendship fraught with ambiguity and rivalry.
Mr. Jamrach recruits the two boys to capture a fabled dragon during the course of a three-year whaling expedition. Onboard, Jaffy and Tim enjoy the rough brotherhood of sailors and the brutal art of whale hunting. They even succeed in catching the reptilian beast.
But when the ship’s whaling venture falls short of expectations, the crew begins to regard the dragon - seething with feral power in its cage - as bad luck, a feeling that is cruelly reinforced when a violent storm sinks the ship.
Drifting across an increasingly hallucinatory ocean, the survivors, including Jaffy and Tim, are forced to confront their own place in the animal kingdom. Masterfully told, wildly atmospheric, and thundering with tension, Jamrach’s Menagerie is a truly haunting novel about friendship, sacrifice, and survival.
From the Hardcover edition.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By J. on 08-26-11
Fun & Meaningful
I gave this book 3 stars but I am a tough critic. I could easily see stretching that upward to 3 and a half. The narration is terrific and carries you along. The first half of this book is really, really good. The second half drags and you are forced to endure a bit of a long drawn out plot. If you stick around to the end of the book you will find a book loaded with meaning, told with thoughtfulness and pulled together nicely all the way from start to finish. A sign of a good audiobook for me is one that leaves me with characters that I cant seem to stop thinking about for days and this book does that for me. I LOVED the first half because it is fantastic, second half DRAGS, it ties together nicely in the end, and I loved the overall product. This book does not make my top ten but it is a fun, meaningful listen that I would recommend.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Nancy on 07-20-11
Heartbreaking, Disturbing and Depressing
This book is beautifully constructed and written. The characters were well develped and for approximately 1/2 of the book, I really enjoyed it. There is really no way to make the rest of it anything but disturbing. It affected me so much that wished I had not read it. It is not unrealistic, but take my word for it, it is going to hurt.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful