More lists with this book...
There were some things about this book I really enjoyed. I enjoy the 2-column pages where there is an original language beside an English translation, or a conversation in some other language while a completely nonplussed English monologue goes along beside it ... What fun! And a lot of the things he says about the Self are things I have thought, or wondere...more
People read autobiographies because the personalities behind them have led fascinating, meaningful existences. If you're going to MAKE UP an autobiography, you have the opportunity to magically create some of that aforementioned fascinating-ness: "There, have some meaning! BAMMO, be a fascin...more
The rape scene at the end was...more
I read an article, written by one of my university professors, about the linguistic aspects of this book, which is why I want to read it. What really interests me in it is the main character's linguistic identity. Among other things, there is...more
The best way I can describe this book from a plot perspective is that it is a bildungsroman: “a genre of the novel which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood where change is thus extremely important”. We have the unnamed protaganist who grows from a child to a thirty-year old, changed by travelling, writing, and -- perhaps most importantly -- the discovery of sex and relationships. The pacing varies very much,...more
The novel is about the life of a person who is biologically born (and identifies)as a (cis) man. Then, when he wakes up on his 18th birthday, he discovers he has turned into a biological/cis female, and begins identifying as such.
There is no surprise, no change of psyche. She just goes "oh huh I'm a girl no...more
He goes into the grotesque details of what happens to our bodies in there formative hormonal years. Some people may not be able to stomach it. But a lot of it, is the odd reality we are faced with when w...more
Self, Yann Martel’s first novel, explores the themes of gender, sexuality and identity. The unnamed narrator tells about his life as a child. The strong focus on sexuality and masturbation remind me of Ian McEwan The Cement Garden. Only Martel takes it much further. About one-third of the way through the book the narrator slowly transforms into a female. The whole nature of the book makes you question: you question what you are reading (fiction, non-fiction), you question who t...more
The tone of Self is so absurdly different from Pi's. It offers no conclusion to speak of, nor explanation, it is ragingly atheist almost to the point of being nihilistic.
And yet it is just as enlightening.
That is to say, it's a much more difficult read. Self holds your hand less than the grand majority of books, offers no guidance as to what you are supposed to grasp from it, yet it offers so much to the philosoph...more
There are so many different themes examined and the author’s magic touch ensures they are all shown in a completely new light. I particularly liked the discussion of the ins and outs of thesaurus compilation! Sounds boring but wasn’t. If there’s a bum note it’s my complete failure to comprehend...more
The story is very enthralling and very reminiscent of Orlando, but with the wit and stylish writing of Yann Martel. I could never put this book down. I also found with this book LBGT issues were tackled very well, and Martel goes through the experiences of Gay, Lesbian, and even Transgender persons in a very classy and thoughtful manner.
I also enjoyed ve...more
I am usually very open minded and very eclectic about my reading and opinions, but t...more
Now, I must say, at first read, this book is VERY confusing. The main character has a habit of changing gender and sexual orientation at random, and until you realize that this is just something left unexplained and doesn't quite follow our common views on the subject, it will confuse the heck out of you. However, g...more
Without giving too much away it is difficult to say much about the plot, which feels autiobiographical, to an extent but (as you will see) there are very well defined limits to just how autobiographical it can be.
I am certain that there are hidden depths that I couldn’t quite fathom, regarding fractured consciousnesses and sexual politics, but I m...more
If you are at all interested in reading this book, it is not a difficult or long read. It may be worth...more
A vivid, sometimes playful account of growing up written on a stretch.
A story of sexuality, gender and morphosis written so candidly that martel hardly seems to miss a detail.
Some may wrongly interpret it as erotic literature and why shouldn't they?
Martel is too bold even in describing the various sexual acts.
But keep your judging mind aside and you may get the real theme.
The best part of the...more
Once the main character (view spoiler)[suddenly, without explanation, changes gender...more
This is Martel's first novel and it's written in the first person as a sort of autobiography. I don't want to say much more than that as it's a journey through a life that is sometimes sad, sometimes happy and sometimes painful.
The writing is brilliant, and the layout is peculiar in places, almost like a cro...more
Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 of peripatetic Canadian parents. He grew up in Alaska, British Columbia, Costa Rica, France, Ontario and Mexico, and has continued travelling as an adult, spending time in Iran, Turkey and India. Martel refers to his travels as, “seeing the same play on a whole lot of...more
Share This Book
...I no longer believe in eye fish in [i]fact[/i], but still do in metaphor. In the passion of an embrace, when breath, the win, is at its loudest and skin at its saltiest, I still nearly think that I could stop things and hear, feel, the rolling of the sea. I am still nearly convinced that, when my love and I kiss, we will be blessed with the sight of angelfish and sea-horses rising to the surface of our eyes, these fish being the surest proof of our love. In spite of everything, I sill profoundly believe that love is something oceanic.”