Beatrice & Virgil

BEATR_donkeyAfter 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_virgilDespite the awful reviews on Amazon, I actually enjoyed Beatrice & Virgil. But if you’re looking for a Life of Pi sequel, you won’t find it here.

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.

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5 thoughts on “Beatrice & Virgil

  1. Pi was not just a tough but a near-impossible act to follow, and B&V is decidedly not “delightfully charming.” Still, thought-provoking book. On my to-read list is Martel’s series of letters — 1 a week for 100 weeks, I believe — to Canada’s arts-scorning prime minister, suggesting a book for him to read. Harper never wrote back.

    • Hi Ross! You’re right, nothing will ever measure up to Life of Pi. I’ve heard of Martel’s book of letters to Harper too. I feel like the PM is a lost cause though. No amount of reading will change him. Perhaps some letters to advise the Liberals…

    • Thanks for reading Lily! I thought Life of Pi was beautiful both in book and movie form. You should definitely give Beatrice & Virgil a try even though it’s a completely different beast. It really shows a whole other side of Yann Martel’s writing.

  2. I really loved Life of Pi which is why I think I’ve held back on reading this title. But I really should get to it. It sounds like something I would like and Yann Martel is just awesome.

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