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
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
One of the issues I have about this novel is that it's about a writer trying to write a novel. I think this is a the ...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
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
I was so disappointed, since it was recommended to me by two different friends whose tastes I respect. It made me think: am I missing something here?
There were a few sections that I really enjoyed - Yann Martel's descriptions are always so colourful - but as a whole, I just found the book sloppy and confusing. Parts of it just outright annoyed me. Maybe it's because I don't think [spoilers removed]. I got to the end and flipped through the last few pages, thinking "is this rea ...more
And then, at the five-sixths point the WORST POSSIBLE THING HAPPENED: It turned into a concrete poem. About rape. Yann Martel, why did you do it?? ...more
The main character of the book has an interesting history, but everything becomes convoluted when he changes sexes in the middle of the book (not through a sex change: the character unexplainably becomes a woman). The writing is strong and paints beautiful pictures, but the plot was too twisted for me to enjoy.
Written as a fictional autobiography, Self follows the life of a a young Canadian man. Thoroughly investigating the roles of gender and bias, I really did at times find myself fighting my own inner dialogue.
My favourite thing about this book are the eye fish:
“The clear liquid in our eyes is seawater and therefore there are fish in our eyes, seawater being the natural medium of fish. Since blu ...more
i say skip it. or read it and prove me wrong.
In it, Martel paints a picture of his life as he felt it, and as such some of the details of the narrative are not in line with what we might consider as essentially 'possible'.
(view spoiler)[ For instance, at one point within the novel, when Martel is attending university, he refers to the fact that he wakes up one morning as a woman. Not merely identifying as a woman, but physically inhabiting a woman's ...more
That said, if you're like me and came to this book AFTER Pi, and even after Beatrice and Virgil, be prepared. It is a haunting text, stunningly well-written as usual, but it is incredibly explicit. I am not much one for squirming, but if you're not in the mood for pages of sexual description, or for the awakening of male and female forms to puberty--a ...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
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...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.”