Book Review: The Elephant Keeper’s Children by Peter Høeg

The Elephant Keeper’s Children is written by a Danish author Peter Høeg (and translated into English by Martin Atiker). The book is all over the place, but if I were to describe its plot, I’d say it’s about a young boy named Peter who lives with his family on the fictional island of Finø where his parents are important religious leaders and run their own church. When his parents mysteriously vanish, Peter and his sister Tilte know immediately that something is amiss. Peter and Tilte go on a crazy, surreal hunt for their parents and what they learn about their parent’s mischievous plans changes them forever.


“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 is the novel of the winter to restore your faith in the magic of human experience.” —Washington Independent Review of Books

“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


While this book definitely has a young adult reader vibe to it, I will warn that there are definitely a fair number of references to sex and drugs in this book, (which I am assuming isn’t much of a concern to Scandinavian audiences given their indifferent attitudes towards nudity, sexuality and alternative lifestyles). If you read The Elephant Keeper’s Children and want to read something else by this author, Smillia’s Sense of Snow is a New York Time’s bestseller and similar in genre to this book.


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