Yann Martel’s new book hits shelves today
It’s been a solid nine years since Canadian novelist Yann Martel won the Booker Prize for Life of Pi, but he says he needed the time to tackle one of literature’s “artistically challenging” subjects—the Holocaust—and to do so using a donkey, a monkey and a taxidermist. All of these elements are woven into a few hundred pages in his new book, Beatrice and Virgil, which comes out today. “[It was] quite a tortuous process,” Martel tells Canadian Press.
The novel—which follows an author as he works with a taxidermist who is trying to write a play about the Holocaust starring a donkey (Beatrice) and a monkey (Virgil)—has been in the hands of critics for weeks, and the reviews have started pouring in. So far, critics point to the complicated yet rich and dense story. Eye Weekly calls the book “astonishing,” and blogcritics.org says Martel “gives readers a multi-layered and highly textured read that at first seems somewhat obtuse and disjointed.”
Beatrice and Virgil may not give readers the warm fuzzies that Life of Pi did, but apparently it’s not as torturous to read as it was to write.