15.06.2010 - Yann Martel

Spanish-born Canadian author Yann Martel (1963) is best known for his Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi. Martel grew up in Costa Rica, France, Spain and Mexico, as well as Canada, and continued to travel widely as an adult, spending time in Iran, Turkey and India. After obtaining a degree in Philosophy, Martel committed himself to writing at the age of 27.

Beatrice and Virgil
Yann Martel’s astonishing new novel begins with a successful writer (who transparently resembles Martel) attempting to publish his latest book, made up of a novel and an essay. The book is intended as a ‘flip book’ that the reader can start at either end, reading the novel or the essay first. When Henry’s concept is shot down in flames, he abandons writing altogether. The intriguing arrival of an envelope poses a puzzle that Henry cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the uncompromising world of the letters strange author (also named Henry), Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey named Beatrice and Virgil. As we are drawn deeper into their disturbing moral fable, the relationship between the two faltering writers named Henry becomes more and more complex until it can only be resolved in an explosive, unexpected catastrophe.

With all the spirit and originality that made Life of Pi so treasured, Beatrice and Virgil explores questions about life and art, truth and deception, responsibility and complicity.