Shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize
London, 1857: meet Jaf, a young street urchin who survives an encounter with an escaped tiger in the city’s East End and stumbles into a job for its owner, Mr. Jamrach, a collector and seller of wild animals.
Commissioned by Jamrach to find and collect a half-mythical dragon, Jaf joins a whaling ship headed south and begins a wonder-filled voyage of discovery. But when disaster befalls the crew, Jaf ’s journey becomes a desperate survival tale that pushes love, friendship and humanity to their outermost limits.
Beautifully written and utterly spellbinding, Jamrach’s Menagerie conjures the smells, sights and flavours of the nineteenth century, from the squalor of Victorian London to the lush islands of the Dutch East Indies. A great, salty, historical adventure, with an extraordinary story of love and sacrifice at its core, this book is an astonishing literary achievement.