Title: Beatrice and Virgil
Author: Yann Martel
Summary: When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey—named Beatrice and Virgil—and the epic journey they undertake together.
My Rating: 4.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: My second time with the author and this time I have to say, I was less than impressed. An interesting idea of a play, within in the story but in the end it didn't work for me. There were too many elements that didn't work for me.
One of my biggest issues was the story within the story. Sometimes it works, and other times like in this case, it doesn't. The two stories didn't seem to join together properly, the devices to bring the main story and the story within the story didn't seem to fit together. It felt it was forced for the sake of things, and both stories seemed to be sacrificed in plot and development of characters to make room for the other. I also wasn't a fan of the characters and found that there development didn't go anywhere. It felt like Henry the writer was in the same place as he was at the beginning of the book, and I found that overall, he was a unlikeable character. Because Henry was the narrator of the book, I think it also affected how I felt about it and how it was told.
Yann Martel is a good writer, and he does like to make a metaphorical point about an important subject, and make the reader think abstractly, but in this book, I found that all of that was lost in the plot devices meant to bring it to the reader. In the end, definitely not the book for me.
Would I recommend it to read: I don't think I would. Perhaps his other book Life of Pi, but not this one.
What to read next: Life of Pi