Saturday 13 March 2010

Canadian Fiction

Finished March 12
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
I'm afraid that this book was very much not my thing and I didn't enjoy it. It is a nice short book though!
The main character is a writer, Henry, who writes under a pen name, but when his last project was essentially turned down, he decided to stop writing. He and his wife moved to an unnamed European city and took up a life there. His publishers still forward mail to him and he receives a note along with a scene from a play and a marked up short story of Flaubert's. The author of the note lives in the same city as Henry. This combination intrigues him someone, and he writes a small note back intending to drop it off in person. The author of the note (and of the play) is an older man, a taxidermist. He is regarded as odd by his neighbours, and this proves to be very true. As Henry responds to the taxidermist's request for help with his play, he becomes more involved with him.
I didn't like that the book was one section, not split into chapters. I found that made it hard to find good spots to suspend reading (maybe I was supposed to be entranced and not want to put it down?). The plot was slow and I found it depressing and violent (Now I read violent mysteries, so I'm not sure why this bothered me, but it did). I found that at the end I wasn't surprised, but saddened and numb.

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