Abby's Reviews > The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios

The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Yann Martel
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Jun 12, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: made-me-cry
Read in June, 2012

This is a collection of 4 works of short fiction, what Martel considers (according to the Introduction) to be the best of his early work, and I'm sure I'd agree; these stories are great. I like the each of the varying styles and formats of the stories, and the different voices he gives to the narrator. Each story was driven by emotional truth, and each made me think.
The best of the bunch was the title story: "The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios" which is a brilliant tale of suffering and loss, about a boy with AIDS.
"The Time I Heard the Private Donald J. Rankin String Concerto with One Discordant Violin, by the American Composer John Morton" has perhaps too long of a title, and although I enjoyed reading it, it left no lasting impression on me, except for this wonderful saying that was observed graffitied on a wall, "I am magical. I can bleed for five days and not die."
"Manners of Dying" was bewildering and fascinating and exhausting, and it never even explained itself. But I could not keep from turning the pages, and I could not help speculating about its significance; I have no idea what it means. It was wearying to read, and the ending came as a relief, even though I never got the explanation that I crave even now.
"The Vita Aeterna Mirror Company: Mirrors to Last till Kingdom Come" is thoughtful and very worthwhile. It says exactly what needed to be said.
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