03 February, 2013

Book Review - The Elephant Keepers' Children

From Goodreads: Peter and Tilte are trying to track down two notorious criminals: their parents. They are the pastor and the organist, respectively, of the only church on the tiny island of Finø. Known for fabricating cheap miracles to strengthen their congregation's faith, they have been in trouble before. But this time their children suspect they are up to mischief on a far greater scale.
When Peter and Tilte learn that scientific and religious leaders from around the world are assembling in Copenhagen for a conference, they know their parents are up to something. Peter and Tilte's quest to find them exposes conspiracies, terrorist plots, an angry bishop, a deranged headmaster, two love-struck police officers, a deluded aristocrat and much more along the way.

Thoughts: This is one of those books where I feel I should have got more out of it than I did. That's not say I didn't enjoy it, I'm just not sure what it was all about.
The elephants referred to in the title are not literal elephants, instead they are elephants that some of us carry inside, the things that elephant keepers have inside them that is much bigger than themselves and over which they have no control.
Peter and Tilte are concerned that their parents elephants have lead them to do something dangerous and desperate. Rather than trust the authorities to find out what is going on, Peter and Tilte set off on a fantastical, at times dangerous, at others funny journey to find out what is going on.
Peter is the narrator. As a fourteen year old boy he had some pretty incredible insights. His sister, Tilte who (I think) is sixteen has the most amazing effect on people, being able to get them to do what she wants. Personally I found her a tad annoying.  
The whole story is slightly (very) unbelievable. Events happen that make you question their authenticity and whether or not what is happening is real or simply the product of Peter's very active imagination. He himself is a very intense and resourceful character, lending an air of boys-own-adventure to it. The prose became a bit wearing after awhile, with constant promises of explanations later and things heading off of seeming-less pointless tangents. In the end most of it comes together, but  in all truth by then I just wanted it to be over.