From Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and My Sister’s Keeper, comes a gripping and beautifully written novella, now available exclusively as an eBook. Set in the wilds of Africa, Larger Than Life introduces Alice, the unforgettable character at the center of Picoult’s anticipated new novel, Leaving Time.
A researcher studying memory in elephants, Alice is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf—the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat—while following an important rule: She must only observe and never interfere. Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Thinking back on her own childhood, and on her shifting relationship with her mother, Alice risks her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love.
Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-eight novels, including Wish You Were Here, Small Great Things, Leaving Time, and My Sister’s Keeper, and, with daughter Samantha van Leer, two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult lives in New Hampshire.
MAD HONEY, her new novel co-authored with Jennifer Finney Boylan, is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio on October 4, 2022.
Alice's love and interest in elephants started from when she was just ten years old. From the day she did a presentation on the life of an elephant at school she has never forgotten a single fact about elephants to this day.
Alice's mother is not very happy when she finds out that, Alice has turned down a position at Harvard where she could research monkeys. Instead Alice decides to travel to Africa and do what she has always dreamed of and that is to study elephants. Alice is in her element as she learns many things about the elephants such as the elephants memory and the strong bond between mother and calf. Alice knew the day she came across an orphaned calf that she could not just walk away and leave it even though this was what she was meant to do.
What an amazing and emotional short story and one in which I absolutely LOVED. This is a prequel to Jodi Picoult's next novel, Leaving Time. Highly recommended.
"Where There's Smoke" and "Larger Than Life" are both prequels to the novel "Leaving Time".
I loved "Larger Than Life"! This is a super short novella involving the story of Alice and is set in Africa. She is a scientist studying elephants and I found everything involving the discussion of elephants simply fascinating. I was obsessed with elephants as a child, and still really love to learn anything I can about them. Alice studies a lot involving elephant memory and the bonds between mother and baby. Her main rule as a researcher is to never interfere with the natural happenings of the wild. She finds an abandoned calf, and throws that rule quickly out the door. It's a risky career move, but she learns a lot about the love of a parent along the way. This really hit on many emotions for me, especially after the passing of my mom a couple of weeks ago.
Alice is apparently a central character in the novel "Leaving Time", so I'm very interested to know what it is going to do with "Where's There's Smoke". "Where There's Smoke" is about a famous psychic... so I think it will be super interesting to see how these two separate prequels come together in "Leaving Time".
Free 8/4 - 8/9 on amazon :) Don't forget, Anke!!!!
A story, ok a novella about elephants and Africa, well that's a must for me. I have been to Africa, I have seen elephants roaming the Masai Mara and near Krüger and they are amazing. And to get this for free? Even better. I started reading at once, but somehow this didn't work for me. Half of the story was facts about the elephants. It was interesting, lots of it I already knew, only - I wanted to read a romance, if not that then at least an engaging story, but what I got was a dissertation. Alice, the way the story was written, I couldn't take to her (hope that's the right expression:) ). I felt for her regarding her mother and her love-less upbringing, but whenever I thought, now I get her, there again were all these elephant facts. And then the romance part of the story, that was rather out of the blue and didn't work as well. Might be I got it all wrong and this wasn't supposed to be at least in part a romance, but as fiction, sorry didn't work. I'm still on the fence regarding the novel Leaving Time, I think I'll wait for more reviews.
Alice had wanted to study and work with elephants for as long as she could remember. With all the qualifications she had achieved at home in New England, her mother was horrified when she gave up the offer of Harvard to travel to Africa instead. Alice’s dreams had finally come true, with or without her mother’s blessings.
On the game reserve in Botswana where she was studying the elephants’ memories and the bond between mother and calf, Alice was fascinated by what she was learning. But the day she discovered a baby calf which had been orphaned, a calf that was only around three weeks old, she knew her life was about to change. She was about to break the cardinal rule about interfering with nature…
I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful, heartwarming novella which is a prequel to Jodi Picoult’s newest novel Leaving Time. She has obviously done a lot of research and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I have no hesitation in recommending Larger Than Life, especially if you have an ereader.
Update: I did finally read this. It was wonderful and taught me many things.
I never dnf but this I did. Too sad. I love elephants, think they are amazing!! First few pages in, poachers killed elephants, very graphic too. Their was an elephant calf and he wouldn’t leave his mother. This is based on reality, babies are placed in zoos or wildlife reserves and because they don’t have their herd to teach them they become dangerous to humans. I can’t imagine elephants anything but gentle to humans. Makes me so sad.
Larger Than Life was published five years ago. Some readers might say that the time for me to review it has passed. Admittedly, it's been some time since I've read Jodi Picoult. Yet when I started Larger Than Life I felt like I'd come back home. I was home even though I was in Botswana because Alice Metcalf is just the sort of protagonist that I love to read about. I was very moved by Alice's attachments to elephants that she had studied in African wildlife sanctuaries. Her dedication to the survival of elephants was inspirational.
I saw a review of Larger Than Life on Goodreads that complained about all the elephant facts. Alice is an elephant researcher. It would be strange to me if a story about a woman who does research didn't contain any facts about the subject she was researching.
Larger Than Life is a prequel to the Jodi Picoult novel, Leaving Time. I loved Larger Than Life. So I'm definitely going to want to read Leaving Time in the foreseeable future.
Elephants. Baby elephants 🐘 Her mother was poached and Alice wanted her to have a chance to live, to thrive. So she took this huge baby elephant and tried to raise it in her little cottage. Tried to feed and care for and eventually set out in the world to join her own kind.
It’s been some years since I last read a book by Jodi Picoult. I like most of her stories, but not all. I was pleasantly surprised by this well-written and well-documented short story that took me on a journey to Botswana and South Africa and introduced me to the world of elephants, which was truly fascinating. We follow the young neuro-scientist and doctor in animal behavior, Alice Metcalf, who was pushed by her mother to become a great academic. Instead of a great career stateside, Alice leaves for Africa to study elephants. She goes to great lengths to advocate for these amazing animals instead of simply making notes of her findings, dispassionately, as a scientist should. However, Alice can't help but being emotional when it comes to these wonderful creatures. Then there's also Alice's relationship with her mother, which wasn't an easygoing relationship. Greater than Life’s an interesting and educational novella – and all in all, it’s hard to give so much content in a limited amount of pages. So credit goes to the writer. I look forward to Leaving Time, the full novel about Alice Metcalf and her family.
Larger Than Life is a short story prequel to Leaving Time, the twenty-first full length novel by popular American author, Jodi Picoult. It introduces naturalist, Alice Metcalf, a key character in Leaving Time and details some of her history. In Botswana, Alice comes across an elephant calf that has survived the massacre of her herd by poachers. What she does next could jeopardise her whole career. Picoult has obviously done a lot of research into her subject: even this short taster gives the reader interesting facts about elephant herds, in particular the importance of the matriarch, and some of the effects of poaching. In true Picoult fashion, this story is informative and thought-provoking as well as being at times funny and very moving. The download also includes the first chapter of Leaving Time. Readers will eagerly devour this free offering in anticipation of the publication of Picoult’s upcoming novel.
Picoult delivers more story in fifty pages than many writers do in hundreds. Through thoughts and flashbacks the main character reveals more about herself than she knows. The central story is about a researcher trying to adopt an orphaned baby elephant.
Only once did Picoult insult the reader by telling us what we should have figured out on our own. (“We both knew she was not talking about the wine.”) But she made up for it with a line—or the opening of a line cribbed from Jane Austen. (“It is a fact universally acknowledge that it’s impossible to stay furious in close proximity to a newborn elephant.”)
So I totally read this book out of order because I had no idea it was a prequel to another book. YEAH, I definitely live under a rock.
Larger Than Life was so freaking good. I just loved the elephants in Leaving Time so getting more of them made me even happier while reading this book. Even though I was happy while getting more time with the elephants - this was actually a sad book. Well, maybe just to me? I have no idea how anyone else felt.
The elephant's behaviors were so interesting that I couldn't put this book down. Then there's Alicia and I loved that she loved elephants. Now they aren't my favorite animal ever, because Hippos rule the world, but I definitely loved her interest in them. I also really liked that Alicia made her own decisions and didn't care what anyone else thought. Yeah it would have been nice to go to Harvard and everything. But to study monkeys? Nah, I wouldn't have accepted that either. Elephants > Monkeys all day every day.
4.5 stars. A truly heartbreaking, lovely little story that gave me quite an education on elephants. Set in Botswana, Alice is a scientist, a naturalist, studying the local elephant population, which is dwindling once again due to the slaughter for ivory that has reached epic proportions. She ends up taking a newborn, orphaned and starving in her grief for her mother, back to camp with her to nurse back to health. So much to love in these 50 some pages.
Gosh I miss Jodi Picoults writing. Her stories are my favourite. I think I would have liked this more if I remembered more details about Leaving Time. That is totally on me, not the book. Regardless I really enjoyed this and it makes me want all the elephants in the world to be happy and healthy.
Larger than Life’ is a short taster, a novella, a prequel to the much awaited new novel from Jodi Picolt, Leaving Time. Alice Metcalf is a naturalist and has saved an elephant calf that has survived a massacre. This is a really well researched ebook and I really enjoyed this teaser (took me about an hour and a half to read), and was happy I saved it until Leaving Time was released – so ready now to dive on in! Jodi Picoult is a must read author for me and I just know that I’m going to devour Larger Than Life.
I was disappointed with this. The main character was not terribly engaging, and she seemed rather passive, although a few of the background characters came to life splendidly. The main plot of this story is that a researcher breaks some rules in order to save a baby elephant, and she finds herself over her head in struggling to care for the calf. She also tries to understand where she stands with her own mother, a subplot mostly revealed in flashbacks. It’s difficult for me to explain why this story fell short for me. I enjoyed all the information about elephants, and I liked that the relationship between elephant matriarchs and their offspring is mirrored, in this story, by the protagonist’s troubled relationship with her mother. It was an interesting way to tell the story, and Jodi Picoult pulled it off beautifully. I also liked the mother/daughter subplot, and I think the mother might be the best-developed character of all of them, even though she’s not much in the story at all. The mother was complicated and nuanced enough for me to be invested.
Perhaps the biggest flaw in the story is that the main character isn’t those things. She seems flat and lifeless. For the most part, the story was boring because she was boring. I cared more about the subplot than the main plot, which felt stagnant. A few things happened along the way that made me smile or frown, but most of what happens comes right at the end. I also had a hard time believing that the protagonist—a scientist, a doctor, and someone who genuinely cares about the animals she studies—would be so unable to think through a situation logically. I don’t blame her at all for her spur-of-the-moment decision to save the elephant calf, as I think most people would have done the same, or at least, would have wanted to. But she had that elephant in her care for a long period of time, and she was supported by a team of scientists. She ought to have been able to predict the obvious. She should have undersood the situation and made a plan, and instead, she was content just to make things up as she went along. She never even tried to prepare for anything. I know it isn’t always fair for a reader to judge the character for missing something that’s so evident. After all, it’s common enough in real life for someone too close to a situation to miss things that would be apparent to an impartial observer. But to ask me to suspend disbelief to such an extent that I could accept an entire team of scientists being completely surprised by something that had already been documented, repeatedly, for years? Jodi Picoult is trying so hard for an emotional twist (which the readers will see a mile off) that she sacrifices all the story’s credibility.
Another super read from Jodi Picoult . I read this short story as I to find Elephants very interesting. Shocking to see them pouched for the ivory tusks. This story is about Alice who working in south Africa on an reserve comes across a number of dead Elephants killed by poachers.. only a small baby elephant remains standing beside his death mother.. what can Alice do if she takes the small elephant with her she runs the risk of loosing her job if she lives the elephant behind she knows it may die.. this book is beautifully written and enjoyable.
This novella was included in the back of my copy of Leaving Time, as well as a reader’s guide. It’s a prequel featuring Alice and explores her relationship with her own mother. I have the feeling that it was originally part of Leaving Time but was possibly cut by an editor, given that a similar theme of mother-daughter bonds/ relationship is featured in both Larger than Life and Leaving Time.
There’s another prequel featuring Serenity but it may only be sold as an ebook.
I bought this novella on a Kindle daily deal a long time ago and didn't re-read the blurb before I started it, so I had no idea what it was going in. I really enjoyed it and will definitely be picking up the associated novel, Leaving Time, and the short story, Where There's Smoke. This story centred around elephants, which are my favourite animal, and I think there was good characterisation achieved considering the short length of the story. There was also a real sense of place and I would have happily read more with this character in this place and time (I know the novel is set at a later time).
Larger Than Life: A wonderful novella full of emotion, spotting the light on the relationships of mother/daughter, human/animal. Very well and smoothly written with a proper use of flashbacks. I was intrigued to read it once I knew Jodi PicoultJodi Picoult the author wrote My Sister's Keeper which is another wonderful work.
The writer takes us in a journey to Botswana, South Africa. Alice is a scientist/naturalist specialized in studying wildlife who rescues a little elephant after surviving a massacre which hit its herd by a bunch of poachers. A strong bond builds up between Alice and the elephant calf, which will be named Lesego later on by Neo who is Alice's main squeeze. Yes, love will be in the air.
I have a soft spot for animals. Not ashamed to admit that I shed some tears in two certain occasions. How can a book this short hold so much emotion? Read it and if you're so sensitive like me, you will end up tearing, too.
Jodi Picoult’s novella is set in Botswana in 1999. The protagonist is naturalist and researcher Alice Metcalf whose focus is studying elephants. Alice has had a passion for elephants since she was ten years old. This is an issue novel about ivory poaching.
The book opens with Alice in the middle of a massacre of elephants by poachers after ivory. She discovers a 3 week elephant calf trying to nurse its dead mother. Alice risks her career to care for the calf.
I found the information about elephants fascinating. When I downloaded the e-book if had not realized it is a prequel to a new book coming out later by the Author. The book is a heartwarming easy to read and provides a great deal of information about elephants. I obtained this novella from iTunes to read in iBook on my iPad.