Beatrice and Virgil : A Novel (Paperback)

Author: Martel, Yann

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Product Overview

Includes questions for discussion and interview with the author.


Publisher Random House Inc
Mfg Part# 9780812981544
SKU 216374567
Format Paperback
ISBN10 0812981545
Release Date 2/22/2011
"[A] fable-type story with iceberg-deep dimensions reaching far below the surface of its general premise." (starred review)
"Martel's prose style, which ranges from the nicely simple to the naively clumsy, makes it easy to underestimate his literary cunning. But, as with every element in this carefully constructed book, it turns out to be fraught with ironies....BEATRICE AND VIRGIL linger[s] troublingly in the mind."
"What BEATRICE AND VIRGIL itself is 'about' is...not easily summarized; like Mr. Martel's award-winning best seller LIFE OF PI, the book is a sophisticated fable featuring animal characters and inter-species conversations. It might be best described as an artful philosophical novella rather in the spirit of the slim volumes produced by writers of the French Enlightenment....[The book] is so imbued with passionate moral and intellectual ardor that even the cynical should find it engaging."
"[A]n ambitious, troubling, but ultimately misguided effort....Martel uses riddles, games, literary allusions, chunks of text (a Flaubert short story, for instance) and deceptively simple language to trace his narrator's journey into collaboration and confrontation with evil. But he's not as convincing as he was in LIFE OF PI."
"Writers such as Martel are a kind of human sacrifice. It cannot be easy to imagine a way into suffering, come out, lead others into and through it."
From the Publisher
Annotation Nine years after his bestselling Booker-winning LIFE OF PI, Yann Martel returns with a richly layered tale that grapples with the issue of how to address the horrors of the Holocaust in art. The story revolves around Henry, the author of a bestselling book reminiscent of LIFE OF PI, as he struggles to break out of a crippling case of writer's block and find a way to complete a Holocaust-themed second novel. Henry's creative breakthrough comes in the form of an unexpected relationship with an eccentric taxidermist who has spent his life working on an existential play featuring a talking donkey and monkey. A philosophically complex novel, BEATRICE AND VIRGIL features a wide range of stylistic approaches: semi-autobiographical descriptions of the writing life, essayistic musings on the relationship between art and reality, and allegorical excerpts from the taxidermist's play. At turns comic, whimsical, thoughtful, and deeply disturbing, Martel's novel is a profound yet playful look at art's ability to address morality.
Editors Note Fate takes many forms. . . .  When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey—named Beatrice and Virgil—and the epic journey they undertake together.With all the spirit and originality that made Life of Pi so beloved, this brilliant new novel takes the reader on a haunting odyssey. On the way Martel asks profound questions about life and art, truth and deception, responsibility and complicity. From the Hardcover edition.
Product Attributes
Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 0226
Publisher Spiegel & Grau

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