Jamrach's Menagerie: A Novel

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jun 14, 2011 - Fiction - 304 pages
48 Reviews

SHORTLISTED for the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

A thrilling and powerful novel about a young boy lured to sea by the promise of adventure and reward, with echoes of Great Expectations, Moby-Dick, and The Voyage of the Narwhal.

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.
 

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User Review  - idiotgirl - LibraryThing

Another Booker first person. Just starting. Read full review

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User Review  - sarahzilkastarke - LibraryThing

I can sum this book up simply. It all goes downhill once you start eating humans after being lost at sea. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
Section 2
14
Section 3
40
Section 4
57
Section 5
67
Section 6
102
Section 7
118
Section 8
142
Section 10
177
Section 11
206
Section 12
213
Section 13
225
Section 14
246
Section 15
257
Section 16
284
Section 17
293

Section 9
160

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About the author (2011)

CAROL BIRCH is the author of nine other novels published in Britain. She has won the David Higham Award for Life in the Palace and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for The Fog Line, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003 for Turn Again Home.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information