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I often get asked the question why I use animals in my stories. Life of Pi was set in a zoo and featured a number of animals, and animals once again play a prominent role in my new novel, Beatrice and Virgil. Am I a great animal lover? Well, I suppose I am; nature is indeed beautiful. But the actual reason I like to use animals is because they help me tell my tale. People are cynical about people, but less so about wild animals. A rhinoceros dentist elicits less skepticism, in some ways, than a German dentist. I also use animals in my fiction because people rarely see animals as they truly are, biologically. Rather, they tend to project human traits onto them, seeing nobility in one species, cowardice in another, and so on. This is biological nonsense, of course; every species is and behaves as it needs to in order to survive. But this animal-as-canvas quality is useful for a storyteller. It means that an animal that people feel kindly towards becomes a character that readers feel kindly towards.
Why did I choose to write a novel about the Holocaust? There’s nothing personal to this interest; I’m neither Jewish, nor of German or eastern European extraction. I’m a complete outsider who’s been staring at this monstrous massacre of innocents since I first learned about it as a child living in France. It’s as an artist that I’ve kept coming back to the subject. What can I do as an artist about the Holocaust? I believe that if history does not express itself as art, it will not survive in common human memory. And so I took what I knew of the Holocaust, the cumulative knowledge of my reading and viewing and visiting (both to camps in Poland and Germany and to Yad Vashem in Israel and to various museums), and I set it next to that part of me that wants to understand through the imagination. Then I sat down and wrote Beatrice and Virgil.
For most of this book, I thought this was a work of non-fiction. It was just written that way, which makes it even more haunting. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. Skvarce
Henry is a writer whose first novel was a huge success. His second novel doesn't do well with his publisher and never makes it to print. Read morePublished 1 month ago by K. Spangler
Yang Martel once again uses animals (as in "Life of Pi")to tell an emotional story about the Holocaust. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mary Boyd
I bought and read this book because I loved the Life of Pi. And having avoided spoilers, I was hoping to read a similarly clever, delicately written, whimsical if slightly dark... Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. Mork
This book by Martel was read by me because I had heard so much about his other book. This one was mercifully short. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Robert Ewbank
After reading The Life of Pi, I was excited to read another book by Yann Martel. I got this book over the summer and didn't end up finishing it until the beginning of the next... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brittany DeWalt
& very original but not very much fun to read and I do especially hat the ending but, oh well, that is just me. I so loved Life of PiPublished 2 months ago by Ruth H. Leech
Made me think , I wasn't expecting the ending . It was a different way to describe what had happened .Published 3 months ago by patty west
This book from the author of "Life of Pi" draws you in and does not let go. The tale is a dark one, and disturbing, as the main character comes to realize the truth. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ramona S.