Review: ‘The Elephant Keeper’ by Christopher Nicholson

Compared to some other things I’ve read this term, this book was easy to get into. The story begins in 1776 with a young stable boy named Tom Page, whose family has always looked after horses, until  he is put in charge of two young elephants. It tells the story of this remarkable relationship, between Tom and his charges.

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I was carried along with the story but enjoyed the first parts more than what followed. The period language made this feel very different to what I regularly read, and I liked that shift of pace. As it is framed as Tom Page telling the reader his story, it could easily have become a bit dry once the style of being directly told events became familiar, but Nicholson is a skillful writer and I didn’t find that the case – I just preferred the younger Tom as a character.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in it, and particularly those who like to see animals as prominent characters in fiction. The elephants are incredibly well drawn, and their relationship with Tom is the most important of the book.

I know this is another week of a rushed book and a superficial review. Soon I’ll be back to reading on my own schedule, but until then, this is how it is. I’d rather post something brief than nothing at all – I hope you feel the same about reading them. 

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