“Beatrice and Virgil” by Yann Martel is a fictional book, a follow up to the author’s wildly successful “Like of Pi”. A strange story which is suppose to be an allegory for the Holocaust.
- 224 pages
- Publisher : Spiegel & Grau
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1400069262
I really didn’t know what to think about “Beatrice and Virgil” by Yann Martel. I didn’t like it yet didn’t hate it either.
I was impartial to the book, I wasn’t offended, I wasn’t touched and I didn’t learn anything from it.
Maybe it was because I looked forward to reading it.
The narrator of the book is Henry, a famous author, who is taken by a play sent to him by one of this fans. The play is about a donkey named Beatrice and a monkey named Virgil. The author turns out to be a taxidermist who might have been a Nazi collaborator and the play is suppose to be an allegory for the suffering in the Holocaust. The taxidermist even has a stuffed donkey with a monkey on her back – get it?
While I found the story of the author and the taxidermist somewhat interesting, the play within the novel was banal and bored me to tears (I don’t like reading plays to begin with), the allegory to the Holocaust misguided and indifferent.
It seems to me that Mr. Martel has written the play first and when he realizes that it’s not going anywhere or simply just not that good or interesting, so he decided to frame a book around it.
As mentioned, I was really looking forward to reading this book. I had relatives who were murdered by the Nazis, and relatives who obviously survived so I find the history not only fascinating but deeply personal as well. It is obvious to me that Mr. Martel sincerely set out to write a touching story which brings several sides (survivors, tormentors, witnesses) together in order to create an emotional story considering the consequences of the Holocaust on its victims. What I read though was a story which focused on the dramatic instead of giving the reader some insight.
Henry is a famous novelist who has moved with his wife to a new city (from Canada) and cannot find a paying job. Henry takes clarinet lessons, joins a theater company and entertains working in a chocolateria.
An envelope arrives at his home which catches Henry’s eye, it contains part of a play and a story by Gustave Flaubert called “The Legend of Saint Julian Hospitator” which is about a boy who is mean to animals and is cursed because of it.
The play is written by the sender and is about a donkey named Beatrice and a monkey named Virgil, Henry tracks down the play’s author, a taxidermist who might have been a Nazi collaborator.
TLC Book Tour for “Beatrice and Virgil”:
Monday, February 21st: Book Addiction
Tuesday, February 22nd: Nonsuch Book
Wednesday, February 23rd: Rundpinne
Thursday, February 24th: Book Hooked Blog
Friday, February 25th: Musings of an All Purpose Monkey
Monday, February 28th: Man of La Book
Tuesday, March 1st: Suko’s Notebook
Wednesday, March 2nd: Book Club Classics!
Thursday, March 3rd: Lit and Life
Monday, March 7th: In the Next Room
Wednesday, March 9th: Luxury Reading
Monday, March 14th: The Brain Lair
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours
*Amazon links point to an affiliate account, the money is usually spent on books
- Yann Martel halts book barrage of Canadian PM (guardian.co.uk)
- Yann Martel ends barrage of books to PM (theprovince.com)
- A gift list for Yann Martel (theglobeandmail.com)
- Yann Martel should read between the lines | Deborah Orr (guardian.co.uk)
BOOK BLOGGERS – Have you read “Beatrice and Virgil”? If so link up your review below