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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Elephant Keepers' Children by Peter Hoeg

The Elephant Keepers' Children

Told from the precocious perspective of fourteen-year-old Peter, The Elephant Keepers' Children is about three siblings and how they deal with life alongside their eccentric parents. Peter's father is a vicar, his mother is an artisan, and both are equally and profoundly devout. The family lives on the (fictional) island of Finø, where people of all religious faiths coexist peacefully. Yet, nothing is at it seems. 
   When Peter's parents suddenly go missing, Peter and his siblings fear the worst--has their parents' relentless quest to boost church attendance finally put them in danger? Told with poignancy and humor, The Elephant Keepers' Children is a fascinating exploration of fundamentalism versus spiritual freedom, the vicissitudes of romantic and familial love, and the triumph of the human spirit.

I didn't get the point of this book.  While I kept on reading out of sheer bloody mindedness and with the hope that it would all be explained by the end, the point just never came.  I plowed through so much extra narrative and weirdness looking forward to an explanation of why Peters' parents were missing and what they had been planning.  While a kind of explanation came it was neither interesting nor dramatic enough to make up for the time I lost reading the rest of the book.  

I am left wondering what was the point of all the strange names of the characters.  Was this just a case of literal translation into English that made them sound strange or was the author trying to get some point across!  It's strangeness reminded me in parts of Douglas Coupland, particularly in the way it jumped between stories and characters with the line that "this would be explained later" but the explanation never actually coming.

Don't bother in my opinion.  1 out of 5 for getting this published.

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