3 August 12 | Aleksandra Fazlipour

The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Hilary Wermers on Peter Hoeg’s The Elephant Keepers’ Children, which is translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken. The Elephant Keepers’ Children will be released from Other Press on October 23, 2012.

Hilary Wermers is a senior at the University of Rochester, majoring in English and Women’s Studies. Her book reviews have also appeared in The Bloomsbury Review. She hails from Denver, Colorado. This summer, you can find her sprawled in a lawn chair next to the pool, book in hand. This is her first review for threepercent.

Here’s part of her review:

Peter Hoeg, Danish author best known for Smilla’s Sense of Snow, has created a fictional world in his new work, The Elephant Keeper’s Children, which not only entices readers to return to it again and again, but also encourages us to examine our reality. The story takes place partly on the fictional island of Fino and partly in Hoeg’s fictional realization of Copenhagen. Peter, our charming fourteen-year-old narrator, tells of the adventures of himself, his older siblings Hans and Title, and their dog Basker leading up to the “Grand Synod”, a religious conference of improbable size and importance. Peter’s parents are mysteriously involved in the Synod; he and his siblings are on a mission to save their parents from themselves.

The title seems somewhat ambiguous until Hoeg reveals the definition and importance of “elephant keepers.” They are present throughout the story and a force to be reckoned with. Like the definition of elephant keepers, much of this novel is revealed at exactly the most satisfying moment, at the point when readers (or this reader, at least) begin to become frustrated with our lack of insight into Hoeg’s complex world. This delayed effect made me think of Peter as a thoughtful host, who brings up business or unpleasantness only when his guests are comfortably seated with a cup of tea in hand. Needless to say, I felt a great deal of affection for Peter by the time I turned the final page.

Click here to read the entire review.


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