Friday, 30 September 2011
45 Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch
'I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.'
Saved from the mouth of an angry tiger, Jaffy Brown's life changes when he is introduced into the world of Mr Jamrach and his menagerie of strange and exotic creatures. He is given the job of looking after the animals and then finds himself on board a ship bound for the Indian Ocean on a rather peculiar commission to find a creature that might not even exist.
But things are not easy on board the Lysander and he has to battle dragons and demons that walk on the surface of the water.
This book is quite literally astonishing, the story is quite simple, no doubt there have been hundreds of books written over the years about a young boy taking to the sea and travelling across the world. But what grabs you about 'Jamrach's Menagerie' is the stunning way it is written. It is beautifully written and to be honest it was a shame when I came to the end, I just wanted it to go on and on and never stop ! It is an emotionally powerful story loosely based on two real life events during the 19th Century. This may have become my favourite book of the year and of my 52 book challenge. Read it.