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Beatrice and Virgil

by

Beatrice and Virgil Cover

 

Staff Pick

Wow — 9 years was certainly worth the wait!  Henry L'Hôte 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. A strange and  unsettling relationship develops between Henry-the-author, and Henry-the-taxidermist, from which the author is somehow unable to disengage. A unique and surprising story, Beatrice and Virgil will completely draw you in. This latest offering from Martel is a rare treat, a perfect allegory that unfolds effortlessly, while being both entertaining and deeply, profoundly, intensely meaningful. Fantastic!
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Dark but divine....This novel might just be a masterpiece about the Holocaust....Martel brilliantly guides the reader from the too-sunny beginning into the terrifying darkness of the old man's shop and Europe's past. Everything comes into focus by the end, leaving the reader startled, astonished, and moved." USA Today

Review:

"[A] slim but potent exploration of the nature of survival in the face of evil....Beatrice and Virgil is a chilling addition to the literature about the horrors most of us cannot imagine, and will stir its readers to think about the depths of depravity to which humanity can sink and the amplitude of our capacity to survive." Nina Sankovitch, The Huffington Post

Review:

"Those spell-bound by Man Booker prize-winning Life of Pi will find much to love in Yann Martel’s new work of fiction....In Beatrice and Virgil, Martel again evokes the power of allegory, this time to address the legacy of the Holocaust — as well as the pleasure of fairy tales. At the heart of this novel are questions about truth and illusion, responsibility and innocence, and Martel is able to employ Beatrice and Virgil as sympathetic, nuanced vehicles for his vision. Beatrice and Virgil is a thought-provoking delight." Marie Claire

Review:

"Martel's Life of Pi engaged readers with the predicament of a shipwrecked boy and tiger; his new fable is just as inventive, provocative, and artful — only this time the peril is genocide." Good Housekeeping

Review:

"Brilliant...with this short, crisply written, many-layered book, Martel has once again demonstrated that nothing tells the truth like fiction....Another philosophical winner." The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"Has many wonders...Martel’s latest book does something extraordinary. It causes the reader to contemplate serious ideas, and to think. Beatrice and Virgil will haunt you long after the final page." BookPage

Review:

"If Beatrice and Virgil were a piece of music, it would be an extended fugue, beginning so quietly as to be almost inaudible, and culminating in a moment of overwhelming noise followed by silence....There is indeed no exit from Beatrice and Virgil, not even when the book culminates in its final moment of overwhelming crescendo, as Martel’s characters find themselves trapped in an eruption of hell-like flames. Like the echoing themes of a fugue, all the components of the Martel’s novel fit tightly together, leading up to one ultimate moment of terror." The Harvard Crimson

About the Author

Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963. After studying philosophy at university, he worked odd jobs and traveled before turning to writing at the age of twenty-six. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed 2002 Man Booker Prize–winning novel Life of Pi, which was translated into thirty-eight languages and spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.  Yann Martel lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

joyce kelly, March 8, 2011 (view all comments by joyce kelly)
I had enjoyed Martel's, "Life of Pi", for its creative, unique fantasy-survival story, so I thought I would enjoy this book even though I already knew the animals would be connected to the Holocaust in some manner. However, I truly regret reading this book. In reading the first 80 pages or more, I wondered where will the action, or purpose, or interesting part begin and so I read on. Throughout much of this book, my thought was that the characters were void of the Christ--without any spiritual insight and without hope, except perhaps for the character of the author's wife. Gustav's games at the end also portrays this lack of hope and insight in that God is not mentioned or sought until after earthly life is over. The questions of the game pertain to death and terror-dark thoughts. The story lends no apology or sympathy to Holocaust survivors, and almost appears to be suggesting that Nazi's could not help themselves with any self-control when it came to torturing or killing others. Now I will have to do my best to clear my mind of the dark actions and the hopeless thoughts in this story, which I can only conclude are Martel's dark thoughts and curiosities. I doubt if I will ever read another one of Martel's books.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780812981544
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Martel, Yann
Publisher:
Spiegel & Grau
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;holocaust;animals;taxidermy;allegory;novel;canadian;writing;literature;21st century;literary fiction;canada;canadian literature;contemporary fiction;writers;authors;literary
Subject:
fiction;holocaust;animals;taxidermy;allegory;novel;canadian;writing;literature;21st century;writers;canadian literature;literary fiction;contemporary fiction;canada;literary;adult;authors
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20110222
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BLACK-and-WHITE ILLUSTRATION
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
7.95 x 5.16 x .63 in .46 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Beatrice and Virgil New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Spiegel & Grau - English 9780812981544 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Wow — 9 years was certainly worth the wait!  Henry L'Hôte 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. A strange and  unsettling relationship develops between Henry-the-author, and Henry-the-taxidermist, from which the author is somehow unable to disengage. A unique and surprising story, Beatrice and Virgil will completely draw you in. This latest offering from Martel is a rare treat, a perfect allegory that unfolds effortlessly, while being both entertaining and deeply, profoundly, intensely meaningful. Fantastic!

"Review" by , "Dark but divine....This novel might just be a masterpiece about the Holocaust....Martel brilliantly guides the reader from the too-sunny beginning into the terrifying darkness of the old man's shop and Europe's past. Everything comes into focus by the end, leaving the reader startled, astonished, and moved."
"Review" by , "[A] slim but potent exploration of the nature of survival in the face of evil....Beatrice and Virgil is a chilling addition to the literature about the horrors most of us cannot imagine, and will stir its readers to think about the depths of depravity to which humanity can sink and the amplitude of our capacity to survive."
"Review" by , "Those spell-bound by Man Booker prize-winning Life of Pi will find much to love in Yann Martel’s new work of fiction....In Beatrice and Virgil, Martel again evokes the power of allegory, this time to address the legacy of the Holocaust — as well as the pleasure of fairy tales. At the heart of this novel are questions about truth and illusion, responsibility and innocence, and Martel is able to employ Beatrice and Virgil as sympathetic, nuanced vehicles for his vision. Beatrice and Virgil is a thought-provoking delight."
"Review" by , "Martel's Life of Pi engaged readers with the predicament of a shipwrecked boy and tiger; his new fable is just as inventive, provocative, and artful — only this time the peril is genocide."
"Review" by , "Brilliant...with this short, crisply written, many-layered book, Martel has once again demonstrated that nothing tells the truth like fiction....Another philosophical winner."
"Review" by , "Has many wonders...Martel’s latest book does something extraordinary. It causes the reader to contemplate serious ideas, and to think. Beatrice and Virgil will haunt you long after the final page."
"Review" by , "If Beatrice and Virgil were a piece of music, it would be an extended fugue, beginning so quietly as to be almost inaudible, and culminating in a moment of overwhelming noise followed by silence....There is indeed no exit from Beatrice and Virgil, not even when the book culminates in its final moment of overwhelming crescendo, as Martel’s characters find themselves trapped in an eruption of hell-like flames. Like the echoing themes of a fugue, all the components of the Martel’s novel fit tightly together, leading up to one ultimate moment of terror."
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