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Jamrach's Menagerie - Carol Birch

Jamrach's Menagerie - Carol Birch

Title: Jamrach’s Menagerie

Author:  Carol Birch

ISBN:  9781847676566

Weight:  721 g

Dated signed first edition, first print paperback original



Last 1 in stock, fast dispatch

Our price:  £19.95

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.”

It is London, 1857.  Jaffy Brown is running through the squalid London backstreets when he comes face to face with the escaped circus animal.  His young life is transformed by the encounter.  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 South Seas.  His job is to be the keeper of the animals they hope to find and bring back alive.  So begins an extraordinary voyage.  Jaffy’s 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 South Seas.  This is a great salty historical adventure, and a fascinating exploration of our relationship to the natural world and the wilderness it contains.

Peer & Press Reviews

Sucks you into a world of the senses, from the filthy streets of Victorian London to the rolling hills of the South Seas.  Jaffy Brown, the gifted narrator at the center of this mythic tale, rivals David Copperfield and Ishmael of Moby-Dick with his gift for storytelling.  His ‘rare old time’ becomes, in due course, a fable of friendship, and a tribute to human survival.  What a beautifully written and engaging novel!

Jay Parini, author of The Last Station

An imaginative tour-de-force encompassing the sights and smells of 19th-century London and the wild sea…  Gripping, superbly written and a delight.


Never mind not being able to put it down – there is a 100-page section in Jamrach’s Menagerie in which you will not be able to breathe.  Rarely have I read a book that so deftly marries high literary value with unbearable suspense.

Robert Hough, author of The Final Confession of Mabel Stark

Bibliographic Info

Attribute Details
Title Jamrach’s Menagerie
Book Features
Edition / printing First edition, first printing
Edition background

The paperback original is the true first edition of this major award-nominated novel.  The first printing of this novel has the first state ‘tiger’ cover by Jon Gray (gray318) – see image.

Subsequent printings included a quote by A. S. Byatt (02/03/11) and an image of a sailing ship (17/08/11), both placed inside the tiger’s mouth.  The cover changed completely with the printing issued on 22 September 2011 – a stylised image of the sea, the stars and a sailing ship.

Edition features This book is a trade paperback with French flaps
Overall condition

Fine / Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
Please note there is some minor pushing / scuffing to the spine ends, but nothing that isn’t typical for a card cover.

Signed On the title page
Dated 24/8/11
Ephemera The book comes with an unsigned ticket and a signed brochure from a Lancaster Litfest event held on 19 October, the day after the 2011 Man Booker Prize award ceremony.
Awards and Media
Awards and prizes

Man Booker Prize 2011 – shortlist

Orange Prize for Fiction 2011 – longlist

Book Stats
Publisher Canongate Books
Publication date
Printed by CPI Mackays, Chatham
ISBN 13 9781847676566
ISBN 10 1847676561
Format Trade paperback (softcover)
Pages 344
Size (h x w x d) 231 x 157 x 29mm
Image and Design Credits
Author photograph Emily Atherton
Cover design gray318

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