THE MEMORY OF AN ELEPHANT
by ALEX LASKER
Stunning, extraordinary, profound, thought-provoking and emotional… a must read for all elephant lovers! This is a deftly told epic story that brings the beauty and the wild cruelty of Africa vividly to life. (It also reminds us that humans don’t deserve to live on this planet!) “The Memory of an Elephant” by Alex Lasker tells the story of the elephant, ISHI. In fact, it’s Ishi’s own “first elephant” voice…his perceptions that begin the novel… and a broader, omniscient third person narrative voice that fills in where needed.
Ishi’s journey takes place in a variety of places between 1962 (when his family and his herd were killed by poachers and he was found by a young, local tribal boy who arranged care for him at a Kenyan animal orphanage. We follow characters (and Ishi) around Kenya, London, New York and back again to the plains of his birth in Kenya for his final journey, returning to the place where he was nurtured and cared for as a young, orphaned calf by a family of very caring “two leggers” and specifically by his friend and guardian…the young Kikuyu boy named Kamau who found him. It is in the human lives touched by Ishi and his growth and development over time that this story fully captures the reader. (This novel reminds us that man’s cruelty extends beyond humans and into the innocent animal kingdom…exactly why I give to organizations that protect these awe-inspiring, impressive, sentient beings.) I’ve had the privilege of visiting these elephant orphanages and believe me, it’s exactly like caring for a new baby…requiring constant attention and most of all, LOVE.
Alex Lasker’s book, with its generosity of imagination and it’s spirit of empathy, will re-focus the elephant in your heart. This was a marvelous read that I may, at some point, revisit!