❰Download❯ ➸ Jamrach's Menagerie Author Carol Birch – Pdfr25.co

Jamrach's Menagerie Jaffy Brown Is Running Along A Street In London S East End When He Comes Face To Face With An Escaped Circus Animal Plucked From The Jaws Of Death By Mr Jamrach Explorer, Entrepreneur And Collector Of The World S Strangest Creatures The Two Strike Up A Friendship Before He Knows It, Jaffy Finds Himself On Board A Ship Bound For The Dutch East Indies, On An Unusual Commission For Mr Jamrach His Journey If He Survives It Will Push Faith, Love And Friendship To Their Utmost Limits Brilliantly Written And Utterly Spellbinding, Carol Birch S Epic Novel Brings Alive The Smells, Sights And Flavours Of The Nineteenth Century, From The Docks Of London To The Storms Of The Indian Ocean This Great Salty Historical Adventure Is A Gripping Exploration Of Our Relationship To The Natural World And The Wildness It Contains Longlisted For The Man Booker Prize


10 thoughts on “Jamrach's Menagerie

  1. says:

    I received my copy from Bookhugger s Real Readers programme and the first thing to note is that the cover is absolutely stunning The second thing is that the opening paragraph is one of the most enticing I have ever read Unfortunately, after such a promising first impression, it falls a little flat.It s definitely an adventure novel, but this creates some odd strengths and weaknesses I would disagree with the negative reviews which found it difficult to read It s written in quite a compelling fashion and I never felt the urge to stop reading and pick something else up instead It s very easy to get through and quite a quick read for its size Where the problem arises, however, is that it s very much a case of this happens, then this happens, then this happens which leaves very little chance to satifyingly develop the characters.A lot of reviews praise the emotion and depth of the novel whereas I found the characters to be quite thin and often struggled, or just didn t care, who was who on the ship Names and actions often blurred or seemed inconsequential and the major characters seemed rather dull, with the exception of the strong, willful, Ishbel, who unfortunately is absent for most of the book, and Jamrach himself, of whom we learn very little The others seem mostly like creations for events to happen to rather than complex, functioning human beings.Where the book does shine though is in its descriptions of places London especially feels very much alive and encapsulates the filth and magic of the city The islands and ocean feel fresh, alien, and full of wonder Jamrach s yard feels both fantastic and tragic Arguably the places become the characters the people fail to be, with lives and mystery beyond the words on the page.Despite my criticisms, there s something very endearing about this novel Yes, it s quite dull yes, the characters are underdeveloped, but I feel really bad for not liking the book than I did There s something there, whether it s the author s underlying skill, the appeal of adventure, or how close it comes to being good It s a shame it didn t quite fulfill its potential, but there s enjoyment to be had here and I d definitely consider reading by Carol Birch in the future.


  2. says:

    This was a really interesting read It starts out almost like a Dickens novel except colorful Young, impoverished boy in Victorian London falls in with wild characters, goes on adventures, etc But it took a dreadfully dark turn that shocked the hell out of me, and left me disturbed for days So be prepared for that this is much than the average coming of age adventure story In retrospect there were hints of a wild, dark vein earlier in the story, I just wasn t prepared for HOW dark the novel was going to go I think my favorite part of the novel was the rocky friendship between Jaffy and Tim, simply because it seemed so honest and complicated and not idealized at all Tim is a great character an utter little shit as a child but still charming, somehow and complex and enigmatic as a young man He occasionally teases Jaffy, but there are other times when he is achingly sweet like the scene in the ship where he holds Jaffy s hand after a bad dream, and when he brings up the tiger story to give Jaffy the chance to earn the respect of others on the ship Jaffy s feelings for Tim are equally complicated he resents his teasing bitterly and is deeply jealous both of Tim s golden beauty and his close bond with his twin sister, who Jaffy is in love with in a heady, feverous, very teenage way but he also seems very attached to and at times proud of Tim Wonderful historical fiction, extremely vivid and interesting and filled with great characters but be prepared to follow them into some very dark places


  3. says:

    Not suitable for vegetarians.Well, not for squeamish vegetarians.Actually, no, scrub that Not suitable for the squeamish full stop.But I really liked it, so Not squeamish lovely word And or there are compensations for the ickiness Yes Jaffy s voice is a steal Birch creates him and his world, conjures them up out of nothing and there is no sense of artifice, it plops smoothly into place alongside anything else you have read of 19th century London Then he is wrenched away and of course we know it s all going to go disastrously, catastrophically, of course it will, but then that s what we want isn t it To vicariously live out the horror Dickens and Melville on a stick, and home again in time for tea Adventure without the tears That ll do me fine The origin of the story can be found here


  4. says:

    I was torn between two and three stars for this Perhaps it is like 2.5 This book was a chore for me to read I felt disappointed and that it ought to have been so much better Maybe the problem was one of marketing it is called Jamrach s Menagerie and yet the vast bulk of it is about a voyage to find a presumably komodo dragon.For a book with such Dickensian ambition, the characters were remarkably lifeless I felt that I should have identified with them and been drawn in Yet I wasn t Parts of the plot were horrible the 65 days adrift after the storm, for example They were also unoriginal.I gather the writing has been praised It is true that parts of it were very beautifully written In other places, not so much There were inconsistencies, too. Why would a boy with little schooling, who wasn t sure where Peru was, know the phrase amniotic fluid Especially when in common parlance they are often referred to as waters In general, I thought that this novel had the potential to be much, much better As a result I have judged it perhaps harshly than I otherwise might have done Not one to be recommended in my view, unfortunately.


  5. says:

    Jamrach s Menagerie is the most colorful, grimy, brutal, salty coming of age story you are likely to read It s the story of Jaffy Brown a nineteenth century boy who comes fully loaded with all that the best urchins have to offer abject poverty, a single parent, limitless optimism, no education but natural smarts and a love of the sea Jaffy is part Pip, part Popeye, part Ishmael, part Steve Irwin and thanks to Birch all freshness and charm He s our narrator in Jamrach s so it s good thing you want to spend time with him, to root for him Jaffy s life pre Jamrach is all work and the cesspool atmosphere of London slums His one bright light is his Mother She seems barely older than Jaffy at the start of the novel and they are devoted to one another Jaffy enters Jamarach s life through the jaws a tiger One of my favorite moments in the book is when Birch describes this magnificent tiger through Jaffy s inexperienced eyes Jamrach is an agent of procurement for the wild and exotic that fill wealthy,private Victorian zoos He is Jaffy s Magwich, a mysterious benefactor who puts him on a path out of the slums Through the menagerie business Jaffy gets teamed up with another boy, Tim who becomes his friend and rival and Dan Rymer the sailor and adventurer who becomes father and mentor to both boys on the voyage to catch a dragon that is the crux of the novel.Jaffy s hard knock life thus far takes a turn for the worse after he goes to sea At this point the novel shifts gears a little Jaffy s childhood as difficult as it was still had an innocence to it, as he approaches adulthood on board the Lysander the tone of the book becomes harsher, adult too The change is subtly done It goes from an almost lightheartedly dangerous Dickensian tale of life on the streets populated with colorful characters to a Joseph Conrad nature verses man while man verses man tale Birch does a magnificent job bringing nineteenth century London and a globe crossing ocean voyage to life The sights, the smells, the struggle to survive all leap off the page at you What could have been an endless dirge of squalor, gin, abuse and near death experiences instead become a brilliant tour of lives lived by wit and sheer determination to last just another day These places London slums, the deck of the Lysander, a deserted island these are not locations that bring out the hopeful dreamer or the rags to riches tale Birch makes these stops the natural progression of Jaffy s life after his singular good luck in finding himself in the tiger s mouth.Jamrach s Menagerie owes some of it s events to the real life sinking of the whaling ship The Essex in 1820 which inspired Melville s Moby Dick and in exploits of Charles Jamrach Jamrach was a German born merchant who dealt in wild animals and whose escaped tiger in London carried off a small boy There are other plot elements in the story that I won t detail but will have a vaguely familiar ring to them This is not a criticism Birch s use of a true facts and a few known legends only enhances the feeling of historical accuracy in Jaffy s story She retells these moments within the larger plot with a vivid immediacy that makes Jamarach s a page turner as well as a graduate level course on how to write historical fiction.


  6. says:

    The intensity, the deep feeling, the strong relationships, the joys, the horrors, the experiences, the adventures are all described so wonderfully by the author through the senses of Jaffy Brown in the first person, that I shall not even attempt to tell you about them You need to read the book for yourself Short listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2011, I cannot imagine how good the eventual winner must ve been in the eyes of the judges to have beaten Jamarach s Menagerie.Towards the end, I was beginning to think of alternative titles for the book Jaffy s Oceans or The Long Voyage of Jaffy Brown came to mind, but I suppose that the title is appropriate, as it all started when eight year old Jaf Brown stroked the nose of a Bengal tiger which had broken loose from Jemrach s Menagerie and he was carried off by the magnificent beast This incident is based on fact The rest of the story is mostly based on fiction I can t tell you the other fact without ruining the reading for you But I ll tell you about one if the early events which told me that I was going to love this book On the day following the tiger incident, Mr Jamrach sent his boy , Tim, round to find Jaffy and to buy him a raspberry puff Jaffy had never sampled raspberry or cream or puff pastry in his eight years on Earth The description of his happiness as he enjoys his first bite of this wonderful experience is guaranteed to make you enjoy it with him How far from his previous life of scraping through the stinking sewers of Bermondsey could be this new joy There he Tim stood with his hands in his pockets and watched me eat the raspberry puff The first bite was so bitterly sweet the corners if my mouth ached So beautiful, a film of tears stung my eyes Then the pain dispersed and there was only delight Tim eventually becomes Jaffy s very best friend, and that friendship has its ups and downs Some of them are very severe I suppose one could argue that Tim s sister, Ishbel, becomes Jaffy s best friend, but I am not about to enter a debate on the matter, because it doesn t really matter Be warned that there are some very moving, sad parts to this story If you are not careful, you could end up joining melancholics anonymous before you re finished, but you should read it You will not regret it.


  7. says:

    This book was shortlisted for Man Booker Prize this year, 2011 It lost to Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending. I am still to read a Barnes but I am sure I will like his works since my brother like his Flaubert s Parrot However, I wanted to have some lighter reads every December so I picked up this book first I made the right decision this book is light to read yet heavy in its artistry.Think of Robert Louis Stevenson s sea adventure masterpiece Treasure Island because a big part of this book is about adolescent boys with grownup men sailing afloat the Atlantic Throw in some survival of the fittest and awakening like Yann Martel s Life of Pi. Then there s the quest of finding, hunting and bringing home a legend a mythical dragon Opps, I have not read a novel about dragon yet How I wish I d read one so I can make this review convincing ha ha. But anyway, think of a quest like King Arthur s desire for the Holy Grail There I go, I read something about that when I was a young boy I have now analogy Sir Galahad was to Jaffy Brown as King Arthur was to Jamrach But the big and very interesting element of this novel is its Dickensian flavor Jaffy Brown was, at the start of the novel, a young impoverished boy loitering in the dirty streets of London during the Victorian period Birch s storytelling has that Dickensian touch of comedy, innocence and a bit of realism amidst the grime and hopelessness I really liked that part when as a boy, Jaffy thought that the stink in his surroundings because he was living near the market, was how the world smelled He only realized this when his family transferred to another street I also liked how he fell in love with Ishbel I was almost tempted to say that I thought that the story would have been interesting if Birch gave her character a major part, say Ishbel came with the two boys, Jaffy and Tim aboard the creaky whaling ship, Lysander. However, on the second thought, I guess it would have been too predictable as there are already too many children s and YA books now with a young lady as the main protagonist Twilight has Bella, The Hunger Games has Katniss, Divergent has Trish, The Mortal Instruments has Clarissa We need of those adventure books with young boys in it I say, bring back the glory of Robert Louis Stevenson s with his Treasure Island and Kidnapped or Herman Melville with his Moby Dick and Billy Budd Let s have of Percy Jackson, Todd Hewitt and Sam Temple.So this is really the reason why I cheer for this book a youngish adventure book with boys ruling over girls It is for children and young adults to enjoy and probably entice them to read where the author drew her inspiration from the classic works of Dickens, Stevenson and Melville And who knows, probably Birch was also inspired by her contemporaries like Martell, Rioldan, Ness and Grant.I am still to read a Barnes but I say that this book by Birch truly deserves to have been shortlisted in this year s Man Booker.


  8. says:

    This is one of those books where I really would like to know what the judges for the Man Booker Prize were thinking when they picked it over 100 other contenders to be longlisted for the prize for 2011 That s why I read it Parts of it have promise The story starts with this young boy, Jaffy, who lives at the very edge of the Thames river, described uncomfortably well, in a way only rivaled by Stephen King Good but not good It puts you there, in a way you would never want to be Jaffy has a run in with a tiger and ends up working for Jamrach s Menagerie, thus the title of the book To me, these were the interesting bits, unfortunately, they only took the first quarter of the book or so Then the author sends Jaffy off on a whale ship, partly to hunt down a dragon for the menagerie Even this was okay, if a bit overdone Quest Whaling The adventure of the sea yawn I sense that the Booker judges are craving adventure The hunt for the dragon was interesting, but I was starting to lose interest And when view spoiler the people on the boats start eating each other to survive, I started skimming and flipping through pages, hoping for it to end I really think that when you have to resort to cannibalism for shock value, you should put down the pen, or turn off the computer So did the judges pick this for shock value Any adventure that ends in you eating your best friend is than a little unnecessary in my book hide spoiler


  9. says:

    I picked this one to read because it was on the longlist for the Booker Prize I started it when I first took it home from the library, but I did not get into it then and thought I wouldn t read it But, then I decided to try it again, and when I got a little further into it I had not read very much the first time , I started to enjoy it.Jaffy is a young, poor boy living in London in the 1850 s At age 9, when a tiger escapes its cage at a local animal store, he walks up to the cat and strokes it s nose He wondered what it felt like He is promptly taken by the tiger in its mouth, until the owner of the store, Jamrach, arrives and gets the tiger to drop him, unharmed He sees a young girl that day, slightly older than he is, and he ends up working with her twin brother, Tim, at Jamrach s store, his Menagerie, mostly cleaning up after the many different kinds of animals When he turns 15, he and Tim go off to sea primarily to help Jamrach s supplier of animals to capture and return a fabled dragon that is believed to be living on an island in the area of Indonesia The ship they travel on is a whaler, and they also spend time hunting whales This turns into quite an adventure that is so well told and written that I was riveted and greatly enjoyed every moment of the book, even the portions that seemed a bit drawn out but, that was intentional and part of the point.


  10. says:

    Wow This book was not at all what I was expecting Jamrach s Menagerie is an amazing, brutal piece of literature and one of the most harrowing things I ve ever read.The book starts in 1857 when Jaffy, an eight year old London street urchin is picked up by an escaped tiger and carried to Jamrach s Menagerie Jaffy is hired by Jamrach and years later, as a young man, sets out on a whaling ship with his best friend Tim in search of an exotic animal for a wealthy collector The first half of the novel is beautifully written and seems to be setting the stage for a light picaresque or a romantic historical adventure but the second half of the novel is something else all together My father, who recommended this book, had hinted that horrible things beset our protagonist as the novel goes on but, even armed with this knowledge, I was unprepared.Without spoiling things I will say that the plot points of the second half of this novel were not unfamiliar to me but Birch s treatment of the material was unlike anything I ve ever read I mentioned that the first half of the novel was beautifully written The second half is no less so It s also brutally unflinching Birch s merciless attention to detail builds dread to the point where one thinks it must surely break and then keeps going The effect is horrifying and, as readers, we share Jaffy s journey beyond the limits of human endurance Needless to say, this book is incredibly moving It s also a deeply profound and thoughtful book.


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