Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Reviewed by Fiza Pathan
Verdict: ” …. you will come out after reading the book a really empathetic person who redefines what the whole idea of hell means to you at your most lowest as well as at your best.”
To be truthful, I read this book before I picked up and read Life of Pi, and I’m glad I did that because this novel is a lighter introduction to the works of Yann Martel. Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel gave me a new way of looking and perceiving the tragedy of the Holocaust. I took a week and a half to read it because of work, but otherwise this book is simple, just around 224 pages and is an easy read with a profound message for its readers. You don’t need to be :
- An overcautious intellectual to read this book and probe into its symbolism as it’s an easy read and the symbolism is easy to comprehend
- You do not need to have read Life of Pi before reading this; in fact it’s great to read this book first then Life of Pi.
I really don’t want to give any spoilers here but, if you are a writer or someone who wants to become a writer then you will just love this book. If you are a person who has delved in the archives and history of the ‘Holocaust’ then this is another book you must read to get a totally different perspective on this genocide that still sends shivers up and down every person’s spine. If you are worried about too many characters then don’t be, for there are a few characters in this book, but are dealt with in such a refined way that they will stay with you for a while. I also would beseech the reader/you, to not skip any descriptions in the book as they are a very important part of the whole story and besides, Yann Martel has done a great job with his descriptions so don’t miss out on them. Beatrice and Virgil are a donkey and howler monkey respectively who will take you right down to the worst in us, but you will come out after reading the book a really empathetic person who redefines what the whole idea of hell means to you at your most lowest as well as at your best. Don’t also miss out on the bit of personal biography that Yann Martel has weaved into this wonderful book. If you’ve not read Life of Pi save that one too to your reading list. This was a very soul-searching read.
Copyright © 2016 Fiza Pathan
Image copyright: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_and_Virgil
Author: Yann Martel
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf, Canada
Publication date: April 6, 2010
ISBN: 0-307-39877-3 (first edition, hardcover)