Why did you choose this book?
I had heard a lot about it in book news, particularly the fact that some chapters are told from the point of view of an elephant.
What’s it about?
The book is told from several perspectives. First, there is Gravedigger the elephant, whose mother was killed by poachers. He was taken to a rescue facility and eventually became a performing elephant at events/parades/weddings. Second, a poacher and his brother, both of whom have been impacted by elephant attacks. Third, two American filmmakers trying to make their way into show business by filming a documentary about a veterinarian who rescues and cares for elephants.
Other recommended reads?
I can’t say that any immediately come to mind, but if you enjoy stories told from the perspective of an animal (like Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie mysteries), you’ll enjoy this book. I have friends who prefer human-centric stories and didn’t care for this book because they couldn’t get into the head of the animal. I, on the other hand, loved it.
This book was a very fast read, and I had no problem getting into Gravedigger’s perspective. In fact, the chapters from his point of view were my favorites and I found him a very sympathetic character. James also wrote his chapters without overly personifying him – he doesn’t have super philosophical thoughts. I did have trouble distinguishing a timeline, however. I think the different perspectives occur at slightly different times, but I was unclear for much of the book on which parts were past and which present.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari