Read Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel Free Online
Book Title: Beatrice and Virgil|
The author of the book: Yann Martel
Edition: Penguin Books India Pvt ltd
The size of the: 36.44 MB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: 2010
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
Loaded: 1130 times
Reader ratings: 7.2
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I literally just finished Yann Martel's new book Beatrice and Virgil (B&V for brevity's sake) about 10 minutes ago. I am shaken with rage as the book is one of the most hateful and ghastly jumble of horrors I have ever finished. At least it is mercifully short. In fact, it is so short, it can hardly be called more than just a long short story. The main story clocks in under 200 pages, there is tons of white space and the last 8 pages are "games" that feel lifted from works about the Holocaust ranging from Roman Polanski's The Pianist to Sophie's Choice.
I read Life of Pi when it first came out and then again last week. It will always stand as one of the best books of my reading life.
Beatrice and Virgil is a jumble: a writer who's book has just been rejected, a play that is occasionally exquisitely written that vibrates with beauty and life, a coming-to-terms with the Holocaust, the revealing of a Nazi war criminal who somehow escaped detection who is allowed to live a silent life of peace, a hungry donkey and the scream of a Howler monkey.
But what does it mean? I don't know. I think Mr. Martel had terrible writer's block after Pi (the dreaded curse of the sophomore book, even though Pi is really his second novel) and he wants to write about the Holocaust in a new way. But he overreaches. And the book references waaaay too many other works of literature. Many are mentioned by other reviewers, and even Mr. Martel quotes a story by Flaubert in long sentences, so it is hard to really even hear Martel's own voice. B&V reminds me so much of Ian McEwan's The Comfort of Strangers in that it is so short, has a bloody graphic ending that comes out of nowhere and takes place in an anonymous European city.
When it does shine through it is lovely, especially early in the book (read the 3 page description of a pear) during the play that comes to him in bits and pieces by a struggling writer (also with writer's block) clothed as a taxidermist. Both protagonists are named Henry, but usually the elder taxidermist is simply called "the taxidermist". His wife is immediately repulsed by him, the waiters down the street treat him like a leper and he gives everyone except Henry extreme cases of the willies. Henry sees brilliance in the taxidermist's play and wants to shepherd it. But the terse, oblique, removed and socially awkward taxidermist is afraid that Henry will steal his material... and as a reader, the deeper we got into the play, the less I wanted to see it.
In Pi we are caught up in moments of graphic animal violence, but it makes sense within that story and is balanced out by deep insights into spirituality. In B&V the graphic animal violence does nothing to serve the story, except to try to give a new voice to the Holocaust and it simply doesn't work. I don't want or need Martel to write a Pi sequel. But this book is so abstract and cluttered with images that it feels like Martel cut up a bunch of better books on the subject, threw the pieces up in the air, gathered them up in random order, added a hungry donkey and a monkey who howls and barfed them out in novella form. In the end, B&V was gigantic disappointment for me.
Maybe I should try to digest the book before immediately reviewing it, but I need a shower because it made me feel dirty. 0/5 stars.
UPDATE: This review has generated a lot of comments and I have actually bonded with some members of GoodReads over this review. (you know who you are). As you may tell from my statements, I was horribly disappointed with this book. But I finished it weeks ago and I saw Yann Martel speak on 4/18. I just want to put this entire episode out of my mind forever. I had pre-purchased 2 copies: one for me to have signed by the author I so admired to keep forever and one to sell in a few years if (hopefully~~at the time) it won a few awards. I have made book investments like that before and they have paid off. I had a leather bound re-issue of Bluebeard by Vonnegut that was signed and 3 weeks after his death I got $300 for it. I have some first edition Philip Roth (signed) books and a few others.. Because I despised B&V SO much I actually took the books back, even though I had read one of them. It took me less than 2 days to read it and I took the dust jacket off and handled it with such care that it could have be re-sold as totally new. I feel Karma nipping at my heels, because I have NEVER in my life taken back a book that I actually read and requested my money back. I don't like the way it feels and I have to live with that in my mind (and now out on GoodReads) forever. And my "investment" is also gone
I lately found out that I can give a book ZERO out of 5 stars, so I changed my review to reflect that. Art is so subjective: some people will look at a John Crapper toilet at the Smithsonian and say "ART" and others will say "GARBAGE" and they are BOTH right! What is the effing point of getting into an argument how someone feels about a book? Is this not why sites like this exist! They exist SO THAT PEOPLE CAN GIVE THEIR OPINIONS!!!!!! Not to fight!. So... with the exception of Douglass (who I sent a private message to contact me outside of this discussion) (Please contact me!) I have to divorce myself from this particular thread. I'm exhausted from being attacked, sucked back in, being asked questions I cannot answer and mostly, having to think about this horrible mess of a "book" again and again and again.
NEW UPDATE! I just found out that you cannot give "zero stars"..GR counts it as unrated. Even though I still despise this book, I'll give it one star, but only under protest!!!!
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Read information about the authorYann Martel is the author of Life of Pi, the #1 international bestseller and winner of the 2002 Man Booker (among many other prizes). He is also the award-winning author of The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios (winner of the Journey Prize), Self, Beatrice & Virgil, and 101 Letters to a Prime Minister. Born in Spain in 1963, Martel studied philosophy at Trent University, worked at odd jobs—tree planter, dishwasher, security guard—and traveled widely before turning to writing. He lives in Saskatoon, Canada, with the writer Alice Kuipers and their four children.
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