Brian's Reviews > Self

Self by Yann Martel
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's review
May 12, 10

Read in May, 2010

AKA: Metamorphosis

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 the narrator is and what the narrator is (male/female, gay/straight, gay man or straight woman, gay woman or straight man? Is the book on some levels autobiographical? I read an interview Martel gave where he stated that he does not write autobiographical fiction. There is a violent scene near the end of the book that many will want to avoid. But the book on the whole is well worth the read.

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