Schoch lives on the streets of Zurich, he drinks and hallucinates, in particular he sees a pink elephant. What if the elephant is still there when he is sober?

Our Review

Elefant by Martin Suter is a charming little story. It was translated from its original German by Jamie Bulloch.

Elefant is the story of a homeless alcoholic named Schoch who one night sees a tiny, pink, glow in the dark elephant. When he wakes the next morning, he is convinced the elephant is a hallucination from too much alcohol and decides to try to sober up.

What if the elephant is not a hallucination though? How did it come to exist?

 “It couldn’t be withdrawal syndrome as he’d had plenty to drink Schoch tried to focus on the object. A child’s toy, a tiny elephant as pink as a marzipan piglet, but more intense in colour. And glowing like a pink firefly”

Schoch has been homeless for nine years and he has built up a small network of friends as well as a daily routine. He lives in a cave down by the riverbank which is hidden from view lots of shrubbery and greenery.

“Schoch had inherited his sleeping place from Sumi, the man who’d introduced him to life on the street back at a time when there were still rules among the homeless. Now it wasn’t like that anymore. These days, you could come home to find someone else already camped there.”

Sumi and Schoch were good friends but Sumi had died, not from alcohol but from the drying out process.

“This had strengthened Schoch’s resolve to never stop drinking.”

Schoch keeps himself to himself in general and doesn’t like talking to people about himself or his past. He has people he will talk to occasionally but nobody he is overly close to. Schoch acknowledges he is an alcoholic but believes he can stop at any time he just chooses not to.

The introduction of the little pink elephant into his life though chooses him to think about some of his choices and whether he may not be able to care about something else.

Part of Elefant is sat in 2013 and tells the story of how the little pink elephant came to be genetically engineered into being and how he came to be in Schoch’s cave.

Schoch is a brilliant character and the reason why Elefant is such a great book. I cared what happened to him as well as what happened to the little elephant. The little pink elephant was also charming and made the book extra special.

Throughout the book we meet a whole host of weird and wonderful people who serve to add to the story and make it extra special.

Elefant was an easy to read book and if this is any indication of the author’s writing style than I will be reading more of his work in the future.


Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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