After watching the gorgeous masterpiece that was Life of Pi in theatres, I wanted to read Yann Martel’s other books. Plus, I’ve had Beatrice & Virgil sitting on my shelf for almost a year.
Beatrice & Virgil is about a writer who has written a bestseller about animals — sound familiar? The writer receives a mysterious piece of fan mail containing a script for a play.
The novel contains a lot of snippets from the play which features a monkey named Virgil and a howler monkey named Beatrice. In terms of action, nothing really happens until the last 20 pages of the book. But a lot happens to Beatrice and Virgil.
Once again, Martel writes this one beautifully. There’s one part early in the novel where Beatrice describes a pear to Virgil and I couldn’t help thinking about it when I was in Thailand trying all these crazy fruits.
But while Life of Pi was praised for its sense of youth and optimism, Beatrice & Virgil doesn’t offer that kind of life lesson. Where Life of Pi is an epic story of heroism, Beatrice & Virgil is a short style with morbid tendencies.