The Elephant of Belfast by S. Kirk Walsh

The Elephant of Belfast by S. Kirk Walsh

  • From our Historical Fiction category :

    The Elephant of Belfast   by S. Kirk Walsh

    2021 Hardcover. Very gently used, in excellent condition.


    The Elephant of Belfast tells the tender and harrowing story of a young female zookeeper and the elephant, and what they endure together during the German blitz of Belfast.  The novel speaks the tragedy of the times, but also to the ongoing sectarian tensions that still exist in Northern Ireland today.


    In October 1940, the reader meets twenty-year-old zookeeper Hettie Quin when Violet, a three-year-old elephant, arrives at the Belfast docks from Ceylon.  Soon, she becomes Violet’s dedicated zookeeper at the Bellevue Zoo.  After the recent loss of her beloved older sister and the abandonment of her father, Hettie finds contentment in her care of Violet and work with her fellow zookeepers.

    Six months later, in April 1941, Belfast is attacked. One evening, over five hours, 674 bombs are dropped and almost a thousand civilians were killed.  During the bombings, Hettie Quin fights to save her elephant and survive the destruction and escalating sectarian unrest of the city.

    Inspired by the true story of Denise Austin, S. Kirk Walsh deftly renders the changing relationship between Hettie and her young charge, and their growing dependence on each other for survival and solace. The Elephant of Belfast is a complicated portrait of love, loss, grief, and resilience amid the backdrop of Belfast and this lesser-known piece of World War II history.