Magsie, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by Magsie)
This book was deeply affecting on so many levels. Out of all the wonderful & amazing novels I read during 2010, Beatrice & Virgil was the emotional standout.
mebbott, January 12, 2011 (view all comments by mebbott)
Provocative and beautiful in its use of language and its confrontation of the question of the limits of language to describe an represent horrific acts. Stunning in its revelation of how the reader naturally adopts the viewpoint of the narrator.
Craig Ensz, April 11, 2010 (view all comments by Craig Ensz)
Not a bad read for a reality masked in in a fable like story. Te odd world of the taxidermist and the language of Beatrice and Virgil isn't quite is entertaining but a little shallow in believability. It deals with the holocaust in a new and provocative way. An interesting way to relate one of the horrors of our time.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (24 of 55 readers found this comment helpful)
Make no mistake, this is a novel about the Holocaust. But it's unlike any other, tackling the tenderness and the horror of human nature by focusing on animals. Henry is changed by the story of Beatrice the donkey and Virgil the howler monkey, and you will be, too.
by Kelly L.
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!
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Megaselling Life of Pi author Martel addresses, in this clunky metanarrative, the violent legacy of the 20th century with an alter ego: Henry L'Hte, an author with a very Martel-like CV who, after a massively successful first novel, gives up writing. Henry and his wife, Sarah, move to a big city ('Perhaps it was New York. Perhaps it was Paris. Perhaps it was Berlin'), where Henry finds satisfying work in a chocolatera and acting in an amateur theater troupe. All is well until he receives a package containing a short story by Flaubert and an excerpt from an unknown play. His curiosity about the sender leads him to a taxidermist named Henry who insists that Henry-the-author help him write a play about a monkey and a donkey. Henry-the-author is at first intrigued by sweet Beatrice, the donkey, and Virgil, her monkey companion, but the animals' increasing peril draws Henry into the taxidermist's brutally absurd world. Martel's aims are ambitious, but the prose is amateur and the characters thin, the coy self-referentiality grates, and the fable at the center of the novel is unbearably self-conscious. When Martel (rather energetically) tries to tug our heartstrings, we're likely to feel more manipulated than moved." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Booklist (starred review),
"[A] fable-type story with iceberg-deep dimensions reaching far below the surface of its general premise....Ultimately, Henry finds redemption in terms of his fiction writing but not before facing a leviathan-size example of the human capacity for inflicting cruelty, assuaging guilt, and engaging in creative deception."
by USA Today,
"This novel just might be a masterpiece about the Holocaust....[S]omehow 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."
by Chicago Tribune,
"Readers familiar with Margaret Atwood, Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje and Carol Shields should learn to make room on the map of contemporary Canadian fiction for the formidable Yann Martel."
by Cleveland Plain Dealer,
"Be assured that with this short, crisply written, many-layered book, Martel has once again demonstrated that nothing tells the truth like fiction."
From the award-winning, bestselling author of Life of Pi comes a mesmerizing and brilliant exploration of the limitations of language in understanding and describing the horrors of the Holocaust.
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