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.