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Elephant Winter by Kim Echlin
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Elephant Winter

by Kim Echlin

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822147,013 (3.82)26
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~I am called the Elephant-Keeper, which suits me. My name is Sophie Walker. When I am not at the elephant barns, I live in a crowded house near a tacky commercial tourist farm in southern Ontario. I have a daughter and I take care of the elephants~

I was looking for a book to meet the February RandomCat Challenge out of the 2013 Category Challenge Group (Read a book with a title, author, or character that brings to mind some of the weather events we typically experience during the month of February) and I found this. The bonus is that it also fit my personal challenge to read books by Canadian authors.

I loved this short book. It is about a young woman who moves back home to care for her mother who is dying from cancer. Their home backs onto a Safari Park and she begins a deeply intimate relationship with the elephants and their keeper. Kim Echlin is from Ontario and I have been to the African Lion Safari Park that she bases this tale on.

The book is about community and communication and love and loss and death and life and is so beautifully written.

My own mother died on Feb 9th, 2007 and reading this book, at this time of year, was especially poignant as I was reminded of the many, many moments that made the time around her dying a sacred and meaningful experience. I became closer to her than ever before in those final weeks. I loved Echlin’s description of the many, many moments that made Sophie and her mother's experience of dying sacred and meaningful, and, yet, at the same time, she does not shy away from depicting the difficulties such experience brings.

And, I loved the depiction of the community and culture of the Asian elephants that teach Sophie so much about life and living.

I was touched and uplifted. I was not aware of Kim Echlin before this and am looking forward to reading more of her work. ( )
  ccookie | Feb 7, 2013 |
A good story set in the Africa Lion Safari Park, near where I live in Ontario.
Elephants figure prominently but there is love, loss, illness (human and animal) etc.
And people for those of you who need them in your stories too. I loved it. ( )
  posthumose | Dec 4, 2007 |
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