The book seemed not to make much sense until the end. The reader seems to be brought to the question of "What is this book about?", which is the same question asked often times in the story to the two writers. Likewise, the final part of the book, "Games for Gustav", makes the perfect ending for such a seemingly weird and pointless story until that point....Continua
It's a book that has to be read. It's an all consuming story and it turns you inside out, because it talks about reality - and not one you'd like to face, ever. Because it has been faced by many, survived by few and understood by no one. The worst part is that somewhere it is still going on....Continua
A quite heavy (depressing) book that need full concentration to understand it, yet it's beautifully sad.
Although I didn't like the last part of the story
The book was well-written, the play was good (except the last massacre part) and the last piece Game for Gustav was a mind-blown!
Much like his previous novel, the groundbreaking "Life of Pi", Yann Martel's latest work is a sort-of modern-day fable heavily featuring animal characters. The book quickly sucks you in with its relaxed prose detailing the life of a successful novelist starting anew in an unidentified foreign city with his family, all of which sounds suspiciously autobiographical. What happens next is the most surprising turn of events and change in narrative tone in recent memory. How Martel jumps from the familiar and routine to the fantastical and horrific so easily and seamlessly is a testament to his brilliant imagination and magnificent writing skills.
What he has accomplished with "Beatrice and Virgil" is an immensely ambitious work, blurring the line between fiction and non-fiction, blending elements of such different platforms of expression as the diary, novel, theater and poetry. My 3-star grade is by no means a denial of this mind-blowing effort, which I think he pulled off beautifully. What turns me off in this book is the gruesome feeling Martel cultivates with his detailed depiction of the taxidermy process and later the even more disturbing description of suffering on another level. These long looks at the uncomfortable, the cruel and the perverse may be critical for the big plot reveal at the end, but how much it unsettles and almost disgusts just about surpasses my limit of acceptable gruesomeness in a novel and becomes overkill. In addition, while I was certainly taken off guard by the big surprise ending, I do think this particular subject matter has been dealt with abundantly and does not need to be lashed upon again. Somehow that just feels a little disrespectful and cheap to me.
Nevertheless, this is a novel that's theatrical, philosophical, existential and carrying an unexpectedly high shock-value. It's a jolt to the heart much like "Life of Pi" but far less confidently merciful....Continua