5 Books That Address The Elephant In Fiction

It’s a simple fact of life: elephants are awesome. In celebration of World Elephant Day, here are 5 books where the elephant is a prominent feature.

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As humans, we tend to get fed up with ourselves for being the self-proclaimed smartest animals on earth. We, after all, conquered 6 of the 7 continents available on the planet and went on to achieve either some really cool or terrible things, depending on your point of view. But, amid our haughtiness, there is one animal that rivals our species in its magnificence.

Elephants are a true marvel of nature. A combination of ginormousness and intelligence, they are among the most human-like non-humans out there—and they are in danger of us. Yes, you could say that we’re a bit immature for being so materially developed, which has resulted in humans wreaking havoc on these creatures as they try to live their lives. But there is hope if we come together and work to ensure the future safety and happiness of these animals. In honor of World Elephant Day and to direct emphasis toward protecting their existence, here are 5 works of fiction that revolve around elephants.


The Fifth Elephant: A Novel of Discworld – Terry Pratchett

All animals on this planet deserve their due of fascination from us. Especially elephants, because four of them literally hold the world on their shoulders—at least, that’s how the universe works in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series. In this 24th installment, you’ll follow Commander Vimes as he works to uncover a conspiracy regarding the missing Fifth Elephant. If you aren’t aware of how important elephants are to the natural order of the world, then this is a must read.


The Architect’s Apprentice – Elif Shafak

Our fixation on the elephant is not something new, as you’ll learn in this masterpiece of historical fiction. Following the perspective of an apprentice architect who begins life in the sprawling city of Istanbul, you’ll get everything from romance, political intrigue, and—of course—an elephant renowned for its intelligence.


The Magician’s Elephant – Kate DiCamillo

The orphan trope has embedded itself in fiction and led to some truly remarkable works, like the Harry Potter Series, Oliver Twist, and many others. Kate DiCamillo ups the ante by placing an elephant at the center of Peter Augustus Duchenne’s quest to uncover the truth of his sister. If you’re looking for a way to reexperience child-like wonder in fiction, this book is a must.


The Elephant Vanishes – Haruki Murakami

We’ve all heard the phrase: “let’s address the elephant in the room.” This collection of short stories by Haruki Murakami does just that in multiple ways. With one story revolving around “a man’s favorite elephant vanishing,” as stated in the Amazon description, and others of equally strange occurrences, you’re not likely to forget anything that happens within the pages of this volume.


Hannah’s Dream – Diane Hammond

As stated before, elephants are among the most human non-human animals in the world. That fact should make you at least a little empathetic toward them if you weren’t already. In this heart-twisting novel, Samson Brown faces the challenge of ensuring the happy future of the elephant Hannah. But, as with anything having to do with animals, things get complicated, especially when someone stops and realizes the inevitable fact that elephants don’t belong in captivity.

Featured Images Via Amazon.