Thursday, 9 December 2010
Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil starts like a foreward and that alone got me hooked to dwelve further. Brilliant gambit, if I may say so.
Actually, it was initially the size (actually lack) of B & V which prompted me to pick it from the tens of titles lining The Times Book Store’s “New Arrival” shelf during a lunch break.
Ever seen George Orwell’s Animal Farm? B & V is about the same size.
The summary on the back cover (Blurb, is it?) doesn’t tell you much about the storyline, except that it involved an author, a taxidermist, a donkey and a monkey.
It was only upon Googling the title up later that I came to know B & V was part fiction part allegory on the Holocaust (look it up if you don’t know what this word means).
A few reviewers compared Martel with M. Night Shyamalan.
(Not the “I see dead people” Shyamalan. The Happening and The Last Airbender etc Shyamalan.
Yes; the one (or two) hit wonder.)
Having found Martel’s writing style to my liking, I was quite flabbergasted with the bad press. Could it really be THAT bad a book?
Writing is a tedious, lonely job.
Writers hope to excite, to enthrall, to give hours of page-turning moments, to provide imaginative avenues and probing insights, or to simply to help readers pass dreadful waits.
For your work to be called a dud is certainly a downer. Especially if you slogged long and hard to come out with your so-called masterpiece.
I suppose Martel took all the criticism in stride as he did mentioned somewhere of working on another tale. Kudos to him.
According to Stephen King, writers are needy. He’s probably correct. Otherwise why do you spend hours, months and, even, years writing, rewriting to get it right for the reader, even if they are purely imaginary?
So, will I be getting the book then?
I’m thinking I will after all.
It might not be are emotionally charged as one of Leon Uris’s epic, but a book that can pass the hours in minutes is worthy of the attention span.