“A picaresque tale that probes society’s little hypocrisies while offering an original array of characters. At first glance, an utterly fun, absorbing read.” —Library Journal
"A fount of grandiloquent observations and windy circumlocutions, Høeg conveys the cunning of a middle-aged novelist playing at being a perceptive 14-year-old, and the earnestness of a 14-year-old who seems doomed to a life of writing." —New York Times Sunday Book Review
"Told with poignancy and humor, The Elephant Keepers' Children is a fascinating exploration of fundamentalism versus spiritual freedom, the vicissitudes of romantic and familial love, and the triumph of the human spirit" —Examiner
"It succeeds in being extremely funny while also wrestling with deeper philosophical questions about the role of religion in society and individual choice." —Huffington Post
"This book manages to be both highly entertaining and seriously thought provoking. I must also mention the flawless translation, which allows us to step into the streets of Copenhagen and to enjoy Høeg’s play with words. Peter regales us with tales of his hilarious misdeeds on one page and delves into the true nature of spirituality on the next. I closed this book feeling wiser." —Three Percent
"Thought-provoking and cheerfully absorbing, The Elephant Keepers’ Children is a worthwhile and fun story." —Times Online
"A thriller of sorts this is, but it’s more humorous than frightening, more of a caper than a mystery, and more of a coming-of-age story than a suspense yarn...Under the madcap adventure story Høeg poses serious issues about neglected children, venal church officials, and the paths to intellectual and spiritual freedom." —Publishers Weekly
"Part comic teenage adventure story, part intellectual debate, the best-selling Danish author's sixth novel is a shaggy-dog story with a unique vision...Høeg has an endless menu of oddities to stir into his story; whether thriller, fantasy or disuisition on spiritual belief, love and parenting does successfully invent an inexhaustible landscape all its own" —Kirkus
"This is the novel of the winter to restore your faith in the magic of human experience." —Washington Independent Review of Books
"The lunacy of a spiritually addicted culture motors this soberhearted screwball comedy from the author of Smilla’s Sense of Snow." —International Herald Tribune
"Peter Høeg displays a glorious facility for the absurd as well as the picaresque, and the hilarity of Peter Finø's narrative makes this a delightful novel." —The Guardian
"Bizarre, philosophical (in an Eastern spirituality way), magically real, with more than enough action and twists, this novel is delivered in a unique voice." —Psychology Today
"Høeg is most notable as the author of Simila’s Sense of Snow. You’ll find The Elephant Keepers' Children a less violent, equally mystical novel." —Boston Book Bums
"As soon as I opened to page one, and met fourteen-year-old Peter, I was hooked...It's really a crime thriller, yet filled with mystical characters and a surprising amount of laughs." —Kick Ass Book Reviews
This quirky, philosophical Danish tale concerns two children, 14-year-old Peter and his older and very mature sister, Tilte, who go on the run from the authorities and various other eccentric and fancifully named characters following their parents' mysterious disappearance. The parents work in their hometown church on a fictional island off the coast of Denmark, where miracles may have occurred during the father's sermons; lately, they have become involved with shady business dealings as well. Piecing together clues left behind, the children learn that a major religious conference is scheduled to take place in Copenhagen and that a theft of priceless religious artifacts may be in the works. Peter and Tilte have a precocious philosophical bent, evidently having spent countless hours researching mysticism and spiritual theology, notions of which are sprinkled liberally throughout young Peter's first-person narrative. VERDICT This is an enjoyable and interesting novel, but the appeal may be limited, since it is densely written and requires an effort. Høeg, the author of the brilliant Smilla's Sense of Snow, has adopted a comic voice, and one wonders at times how accurately the translation has preserved his original intentions. [See Prepub Alert, 6/15/12.]—Jim Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib.
Part comic teenage adventure story, part intellectual debate, the best-selling Danish author's sixth novel is a shaggy-dog story with a unique vision. Featuring quirky names like Leonora Ticklepalate and Sinbad Al-Blablab; precocious, resourceful teenagers racing to save their parents; adolescent romance; and a series of adult-deceiving dodges, Høeg's (The Quiet Girl, 2007, etc.) latest has a definite crossover/young adult flavor. Set on the fictitious Danish island of Finø, it introduces the Finø family: children Hans, Tilte and Peter, and parents pastor Konstantin and his inventor wife, Clara. This couple disappeared once before, having developed some kind of spiritual fraud system involving his sermons and her special effects, but the children have indulged their parents' history of swindling because they are "elephant keepers," containing something bigger than themselves, namely their yearning for God. Now, the two are missing again and Peter and Tilte must go to their rescue. An endless sequence of whimsical episodes ensues as the children give social services the slip, con their way off the island and head toward a Grand Synod of faiths where they suspect their parents are planning an equally grand theft of religious artifacts. Høeg has an endless menu of oddities to stir into his story; whether thriller, fantasy or disquisition on spiritual belief, love and parenting does successfully invent an inexhaustible landscape all its own. This self-indulgent, idiosyncratic and immensely long story will either charm its readers into submission or utterly exhaust their patience.