Beatrice and Virgil
With all the spirit and originality that m...more
within a novel, the big chunks copied out of a story by Flaubert that
is equally uninterestingly presented, the post-modernist writer
writing about a writer who is himself, the tedious Holocaust
allegorical back story is not even mildly interesting or mysterious,
the talking animals, the waiting for godot thing [it's been done, we
hear:]...yuck.) None of the characters are interesting. There is no
plot, really, which is OK (that can be...more
I've read reviews with people saying they felt manipulated, conned, tricked. They are expressing anger over the book and the way it approached the subject and who it was approached by (Who is HE to be writing so offensively about the Holocaust?).
Henry L'Hote is a wildly successful novelist who is thwarted in his desire to publish his next novel. While taking a break from writing, he receives a mysterious package from a fan who sends part of a story, part of a play and a note asking for his help. What follows could only happen in a Yann Martel novel. He makes the surreal and impossible seems normal and routine.
After much contemplation, Henry goes to meet the fan and is perplexed by the strange...more
I adore Life of Pi and was prepared for something along those lines, and while the writing style and voice are just alike, this book is totally different. I was not sure what this book was while I was reading it... it is discordant and has some concepts in it that dont seem to fit with others, there isnt an easy flow to the story and I can see why some people would be put off by it.
What I will say about this book is that it is like a good poem, and I think that is the po...more
I think most available literary devices were used and you can have great fun spotting the various references to other works; many are blindingly obvious, others less so.
In brief, the two main protagonists are both called Henry; one is an author with writer's block and the other an aging taxidermist, usually refered to as the taxidermist. The taxidermist s...more
Martel seems to be both trying to excuse not having publishe...more
I finished this book in less than a day - I could not stop reading it. Yann Martel is one of the most brilliant writers and ever since I read (and was haunted by) Life of Pi, I've been looking forward to reading his next novel.
A Booklist reviewer called this book "a fable-type story with iceberg-deep dimensions reaching far below the surface of its general premise."
A young author named Henry L'Hote wrote a hugely successful book, but his second novel, eagerly awaited, is pitched to...more
Henry, um conhecido e reputado escritor de best-sellers sai do seu país natal quando um livro que projectara de uma forma diferente e em que relatava os horrores do Holocausto lhe é vetado pela sua editora. Decide partir com a mulher para uma outra cidade e aí fazer uma nova vida, completamente diferente do que havia feito até agora....more
It's a very tough book to read. I felt like I had experienced something close to the pain of the Holocaust when I finished it. It tore up my insides and made me bleed. I still can't think of it without feeling angst and sorrow in my heart.
It's confusing, but in a good way. I think readers SHOULD...more
“We overvalue words, they are just refined grunts.”
“Words are cold, muddy toads trying to understand spirits dancing in a field.”
I always felt that words are so strong that they can shatter the silence and scream the truth hoarse... but this book just makes me believe that nothing is more powerful than silence... it can be killing, tormenting, poignant, threatening, cla...more
The question of “about-ness” is asked more than once in Yann Martel’s latest novel. In reference to our main character Henry, “What is this book about?” is asked of his latest novel regarding the Holocaust. When Henry’s publishers and editors don’t “get” his work, he gives up writing for a time, moves to a big city with his wife, adopts a dog and cat, gets his wife pregnant, and meets another Henry; a taxidermist writing a play. In this play, the taxidermist has...more
The Life of Pi is one of my all-time favorite novels, so when Yann Martel published his latest novel, I was hoping for more of the same: a novel that would touch my heart and haunt my consciousness. So I ran right out and spent the big bucks for the hard-bound copy. Beatrice and Virgil did more than touch my heart; it tore it out and handed it to me on a plate. And I me...more
The first time I ever heard the expression "interesting failure," I was in my third year of university when a professor recommended Don DeLillo's Mao II as a book worth reading if I was interested in reading an "interesting failure."
It was OK.
Since then, I've been wary of this label as I find it difficult to keep up with the interesting successes on my "to read" list. Still, my wife ha...more
When I got Yann Martel's later novel, Beatrice and Virgil, I wasn't expecting something like the Life of Pi.But, in a way, that is exactly what I got. Only it was a confused, convoluted, and atrocious version of the book that I had loved so much.
The premise of this book, where an author is convinced to help an elderly taxidermist with his allegorical off-o...more
I'm biased, I find that this is another wonderful book by this author. A lot more philosophical and pragmatic, but still filled with great imagery and metaphor. A story about stories. And that's what everyone seems to have missed. This is the exact sequel to Life of Pi, which ended with a pretty brutal section and a reverie on the nature and meaning of stories. This bo...more
Yann Martel takes another provocative novel to another level, to test your humanity, and to test your perspective in life and in living it. He has made you see survival in the Life of P...more
Wow. This is a powerful tiny novella, rich in symbolism and packing a huge emotional wallop. Although I'm normally the first person to be turned off by postmodern self-referentiality, it didn't bother me here. Martel's narrator is transparently a stand-in for him...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