Monday, May 17, 2010

Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

Did you read Life of Pi by Yann Martel? There was a while there when it seemed every book group was reading and discussing this very unusual book about a young boy, stranded on a raft on the ocean with a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. And no, this is not an allegory for Noah’s Ark, although religion (Christian, Jewish and Hindu) does figure into it.

Well, Martel has written another book, Beatrice and Virgil, and as one reviewer said “it is shocking and moving and will…launch a thousand questions.” Much as Life of Pi is and was!

It seems Martel likes to spin tales about unusual people and unusual animals - Beatrice and Virgil are a donkey and a howler monkey, and they undertake a journey together. But this is actually a novel about the Holocaust, and once again, Martel has used “an animal story to make profound points about humanity.”

There is a very good write up about Beatrice and Virgil in BookPage (May 2010). BookPage is a monthly newsletter about books and reading that is available at the library free of charge. You can also link to BookPage online. Meg


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