Quotes: Sara Gruen

This is my favorite part of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen:

I open the orangutan’s door and set a pan of fruits, vegetables, and nuts on the floor. As I close it, her long arm reaches through the bars. She points at an orange in another pan.

“That? You want that?”

She continues to point, blinking at me with close-set eyes. Her features are concave, her face a wide platter fringed with red hair. She’s the most outrageous and beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

“Here,” I say, handing her the orange. “You can have it.”

She takes it and sets it on the floor. Then she reaches out again. After several seconds of serious misgivings, I hold out my hand. She wraps her long fingers around it, then lets go. She sits on her haunches and peels her orange.

I stare in amazement. She was thanking me.

Such a powerful image.

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