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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
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
The tale of Jamrach's menagerie starts out like a classic novel in the style of Dickens, Trollope or Eliot and is a great coming of age tale of Jaffy Brown a nineteenth century street urchin as he journeys over the seven seas to become a man. Get lost, relax, rediscover youth in this awesome tale.