I bought this book just before my Further Mathematics exam to cheer me up. When I saw the cover, it looks familiar except that the animals are not the same as the one that I remembered. I went near and yeah, it is written by Yann Martel. He wrote Life of Pi before.
Beatrice and Virgil tells a story about fate. Henry, a writer living in a foreign city, receives a mail from an unknown. Instead of the usual fan mail, the envelope contains a story by Flaubert, a scene from a play featuring two characters named Beatrice and Virgil, and a note asking for Henry’s help. The note is signed “Henry,” and the return address is not far from where Henry lives. When Henry walks his dog to hand-deliver his response, he is surprised to discover a taxidermist’s shop. Here, stunning specimens are poised on the brink of action, silent and preternaturally still, yet bursting with the palpable life of a lost, vibrant world. And when the mysterious, elderly taxidermist introduces his visitor to Beatrice and Virgil—a donkey and a howler monkey—Henry’s life is changed forever. This novel brings art, animals and people together and relate them to Holocaust. It is a novel about Holocaust that has never been told before, unlike other Holocaust novels which tells us suffer, hardships etc.
Yann Martel’s previous novel, Life of Pi, has become a modern classic. A fantastical tale about a boy and a tiger shipwrecked in the Pacific, it asked probing questions about belief and reality. Now Martel has written another story that uses animals to examine our humanity. In Beatrice and Virgil, he poses enduring questions about life and art, truth and deception, responsibility and complicity. Haunting and unforgettable, this is an extraordinary feat of storytelling.
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