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Beatrice and Virgil - a review

I just finished reading Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel. 

My thoughts upon finishing: "What the HELL was that?!"

I will continue to enjoy Martel's earlier work Life of Pi, but Beatrice and Virgil stinks of someone who believes themselves to be smarter than they actually are. The book is padded with unnecessary repetition and description, there are whole sections and events that have no baring on the story whatsoever, and the ending makes absolutely no sense. Furthermore, if Martel really wanted to do something different with writing about the Holocaust, he maybe should have tried to not be so goddamn pedestrian about it...I'm not saying that every single idea in the book was bad, I'm just saying that the majority of them were....also, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?! 

In conclusion: I did not like it.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 4th, 2012 11:03 am (UTC)
Shame. Life of Pi was so good. I also read a book of his short stories, the Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamations, and that was good too. Though I have to say, I tried Self and didn't really get anywhere with that. I'm not even sure what it is though, cos it's sort of semi autobiographical, but then there was some rape stuff, and some other stuff, and sometimes the text got split into two down the page, and I gave up. His short stories were good though. And I'm not ususally a fan of short stories.

tl;dr I'm going to take your opinions into account and probably not buy Beatrice and Virgil.
Jan. 4th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this was more like Self than Life of Pi. Mind you, I didn't read all of Self - just the part that described his university (because it's the same one I went to)...but Beatrice and Virgil felt as self-indulgent as Self, which is something that just doesn't sit right with me.
Jan. 4th, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
Oh so you've read Self? Huh. Well, I might give it another shot but I just... couldn't get into it. Maybe Life of Pi was as good as it gets, and it's all downhill from there on. Try the shot stories though, if you can, because some of those were brilliant.
Jan. 4th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
I've only read PART of Self - so probably your original opinion of it was sound and spot on.

I really do think that Life of Pi is as good as it's going to get though...besides maybe another wicked short story. Judging by his writing style, I wouldn't be surprised if his short stories were very good. I'll keep an eye out for them. :)
Jan. 4th, 2012 08:06 pm (UTC)
I just tend to give some books another go, and Self is on that list. Though what with the rapey stuff and what you've said, it sounds like I'm not going to get much further than the first time I tried. :P

Oh do! There's one about a mirror which is very very good. And the one the book is named after (the Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamations) is also very good, as well as being quite sad. You can probably pick it up cheap in a charity shop.

Wait. Do you have charity shops in the same way as we have charity shops? Cos I know that Norway doesn't, and I get the idea that the US doesn't either (or it just has the Goodwill, which I'm guessing is a charity shop of some description).
Jan. 4th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
I don't know about Charity shops, because I've never seen the UK's charity shops. But, yes? Usually they are just clothes - occasionally clothes and furniture and miscellaneous. They usually don't have that many books - but we have second hand bookstores and libraries for those. Though, I think the second hand bookstore is failing a bit in the day and age of large department stores and online ordering.

I'll keep my eye out for the book of short stories, in any case. :)
Jan. 4th, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
Aw you need British charity shops, you can get everything. Books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, weird nick nacks all the way up to TVs and DVD players and beds and waching machines. Huge amounts of my books come from charity shops. In fact, I'm volunteering in an Oxfam Books, which is glorious. Though difficult, because even at dicounted prices, I don't have the money for all the books I find. :P
Jan. 4th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
Oh man! That sounds cool!! We DO need British charity shops!! :)
Jan. 4th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
Then you can spend days going charity shop shopping. It's what we did in our free periods at 6th form. :D
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )