Walsh delivers a turbulent portrait of life in a divided city . . . A unique perspective of a country at war and the lengths people will go for those they love.
Sensitively rendered and finely drawn, this remarkable story, based on true events, is both uplifting and heartbreaking.
The Zookeeper of Belfast knocked me flat and picked me up, not just once but many times over the course of S. Kirk Walsh's deeply satisfying telling. There's so much life in these pages, life as well as death - we're in wartime Belfast, dear reader, and the Luftwaffe is dropping bombs - that I couldn't help but feel changed by the end, experienced. Only the best novels do that, and the very fine Elephant of Belfast belongs in that rank.
The Zookeeper of Belfast boasts not one but two dauntless heroines: Hettie, a young Irish zookeeper and Violet, a young Indian elephant. From their first meeting, Hettie is determined to protect Violet and as dangers mount, we cannot help cheering on her devotion and her resourcefulness. Walsh has written a novel of deep affection and knife-edge suspense. A brilliant debut.
The Zookeeper of Belfast is a lovely book about a fascinating piece of history, and its two heroines--animal and human--are enthralling and beautifully drawn. S. Kirk Walsh writes wonderfully about heartbreak both personal and historic.
An elephant, a young zookeeper, the city of Belfast, bombings, and an IRA member are the improbable characters in this captivating and intimately felt novel that tells the story of a young woman's uncommon devotion and courage under fire.
A zoo in wartime Belfast and a young woman's fierce love for the elephant in her care come vividly to life in this beautiful, beguiling, and atmospheric debut novel.
Cinematic in scope and brimming with emotion, The Zookeeper of Belfast imagines the life of a young woman zookeeper who, in the wake of family tragedy, develops a strong bond with an Asian elephant under her care. S. Kirk Walsh delivers a powerful depiction of the devastations of the Belfast Blitz, even as she poignantly renders her heroine's coming of age and sexual awakening. With a tender portrait of one woman's persistence at its heart, this is a soaring work of historical imagination.
In S. Kirk Walsh's hands, the city of Belfast, its zoo, and the creatures who resided there during the Belfast Blitz, come vividly and brilliantly alive. The Zookeeper of Belfast is impeccably researched and thrillingly suspenseful. I churned through the pages, anxious to know what became of Hettie Quin and Violet, the elephant in her charge: a heartbreaking animal heroine to rival Tarka the otter and the rabbits of Watership Down.