Manual Beatrice and Virgil

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Littell is a dreadful writer, I did not harbor retributive fantasies.

Beasts of Burden

I merely screamed out in pain and spent most of the day on the floor. Martel, however, is an altogether different specimen. And Beatrice and Virgil deserves to be severely reviled because this book, which should not have even been permitted even the fourth-class method of self-publication, earned its bumpkin author a six figure sum through indolence and incompetence. When I finished reading this book, I threw it with such force against the wall that a hairline crack formed in the plaster.

And even if you have the basest literary taste no judgment from me, I assure you , that is the kind of thing that this book will do to you. This book will fill you with such vileness that you will find yourself instantly ruminating about what an AK might be able to do when fired in the right direction. And I contend that when an author conjures up such violent fantasies, he should hang up his hat and call it quits for good. Even when he has won, as Mr. Martel has, the Booker Prize. I realize that this post contains strong sentiments.

Some of my professional peers have egged me on to write this post. At first, I vacillated. But when I saw nearly every other critic cowering away from the necessary truth, I realized that their comparatively gentle arguments could not convey how terrible this book is. With some reluctance on my part, force become necessary. And I started reading the book again yes, I read this disgraceful offal to the end: as compact as this fucking book is, reading it is akin to walking the Bataan Death March.

I made it to about Page 40 before I howled out for a distant relative to hold me. But all that is mere invective. This book should never have been written for the following reasons:. A Terrible Protagonist. The book asks us to sympathize with a douchebag named Henry, whose only real character traits are that he has written a successful book and that he is revered by his readers.

Tough life, this Henry. But Henry, far from being a man of action or even inaction , is prone to interior thoughts that convey contradictions. But it does tell you everything you need to know about what a shitty writer Martel is. But as the book reveals, with its conclusive Games for Gustav, Martel has nothing here but the contractual obligation to hit pages.

Overwriting to Expand Word Count: The book is barely pages with its text stretched nearly to large print. The book Henry wrote was in two parts, and he intended them to be published in what the publishing trade calls a flip book: that is, a book with two sets of distinct pages that are attached to a common spine upside-down and back-to-back to each other.

If you flick your thumb through a flip book, the pages, halfway along, will appear upside down, will appear upside down. A head-to-tails flip of the conjoined book will bring you to its fraternal twin. Hence the name flip book. First of all, just about any reader knows what a flip book is. The whole fucking book carries on like this. Five years of hard work it had taken him.

Some examples:. There is utterly no way that even the biggest schmuck in the world can confuse a rifle with a wedding cake. Being remunerated in shares is still compensation. And the immigration forces would likely look into this. Dissonant Repetition. Redundant Description: Editorial absenteeism is quite evident with the needless and often redundant details. There is no need to be redundant.

A nose picker? Perhaps it was New York. Perhaps it was Paris. Perhaps it was Berlin. To that city Henry and Sarah moved because they wanted to live to its pulse for a time.


Henry returned to Canada and convinced Sarah they needed a break and a change of scenery. The lure of adventure won her over. In short order, she quit her job, they filled out papers, packed up their things and moved abroad. Well, better that sexist stereotype than the whore, I suppose. Well, because the character is so narrowly defined, it is. Can Yann Martel write persuasively about marriages?

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Oh fuck no. To nurture in stereotypical fashion and get knocked up. She encouraged him to keep busy. And though this is jumping ahead — and telling an entirely different story — Sarah in time became pregnant…. Well, actually, there was one central reason. And indeed, the play within the book also permits Martel to perform the same trick, killing off some white space with dialogue like this:. And so on. You would get more human insight from a drunken man transcribing a nursery school conversation. The whole goddam book is like this.

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I hope that the above examples have demonstrated that reading Beatrice and Virgil is a bit like being forced to participate in a gangbang with lepers. You may admire the novelty of the experience, but, in the end, you contract something difficult to shake off. All rights reserved. Yeah, but what do you think of the book?

Which, by the way, has pages and a front cover and a back cover. Words written on those pages. I reflexively want to offer sympathy for the time and suffering you spent reading it— not to mention what will undoubtedly be enduring trauma. I hope it all washes off eventually…. I think I know what the problem is. Someone has convinced Yann Martel that he is in fact Nicholson Baker and so he thinks that the details he observes are as worthy of observation as Bakers.

What is this book about? Wow, right on! Love it. Thank you so much for your review, which is just the antidote I need. Never have I heard such vapidity. Perhaps this might have been salvaged as a passable novella, if edited and trimmed. But who dares to edit writers who have previous best-sellers? Almost no one. And thus does the public suffer a decline in overall quality, and get used to it, like the frog slowly being boiled alive as the temperature gradually rises.

Note also, that the white table cloth is an indirect object. What else? That sentence pretty much is a literary vat of shit. You are deeply attached to awkward and cumbersome passive verbs. Your figures are so poorly constructed that they hamper implication and clarity. I totally agree, though your takedown was more excruciatingly detailed than mine.

Too bad to have a such a pulpit and to squander it so badly. I landed here by chance, as you do on the web. I enjoyed Life of Pi. Nasty does not equal clever. Heck, the web depresses me sometimes. That photo was taken at York University in Dec. Martel was humble and kind and spoke eloquently for about ninety minutes.

The photo was unposed as many people were simply shoving camera phones in his face and he accepted this with good-nature.

Beatrice and Virgil Summary & Study Guide Description

However, at least he has the guts to try something out of the box, instead of adding to the endless parade of vacuously bad shopaholic or vampire books. He may double on details, but always to poetic effect. Minus 15 points on your research paper. Also, that idea about a flip-book that got rejected?

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  • That was his book. But what about the book? What about the questions it raises about writing, fiction vs. It is a short novel. Yet it covers a lot of ground, and that profoundly. But, alas, such shrill hyperbole seems to be your only means of communication. It does not alter, in the slightest, my review. This is in part due to the shallow and ineffectual manner in which Martel writes his book.

    This post is not hyperbole. It is a helpful warning to readers and a counterpoint to crass marketing forces that wish to sell readers bullshit in a golden wrapper. Michael Wyatt: is still the first decade of the 21st Century, right? So I guess this is the worst book of ? He gives 12 potent and brief Holocaust scenarios.

    Same goes for Nuremberg. But when we talk about the s, typically is included in that time-band. When historians write about the s and its worst novel, whatever that may be I feel confident in predicting they will include in that envelope. Edward, I write because your behavior seems more than a little childish. In fact, beyond your absurd obsession with hyperbole, a point noted earlier by someone else, I find your review a bit shallow.

    Ideally, when one writes a review, there is some analysis of the content of the book. All I got here, in what I was hoping to be a decent treatment of the book, was exactly what your website denotes, a rant. I find your arrogance in proposing a rewrite quite astounding.

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    It feels completely contrived and merely uses the same words without conveying the depth of the phrase. That is clearly not taking into account the voice of the speaker. To assume it is Martel speaking directly is a fallacy. And Victor Hugo was far more long-winded in Les Miserables, yet no one disputes that it is a powerful book worth reading for, if nothing else, its commentary on society and prejudices.

    Allegories are seldom action-packed and flashy, but rather provide the opportunity for instruction on a particular principle. Note: They do not force education, but merely offer the chance for deeper analysis to receive deeper understandings. One would rarely consider the parables in the Bible to be bestseller-riveting, yet their depth and insights cannot be overstated.

    To miss that concept, and do so in a very complete fashion, is to discredit yourself as a reviewer. In fact, if so many instances are found, could it not be possible that they were intentional, perhaps even a trait of the speaker? It seems that in your opinion, every book should read like a New York Times article, brief, lacking in literary features, and devoid of all emotion. To then give it negative feedback is not the least bit surprising. What surprises me even more is that any publisher would consider wasting copies of any material on a reviewer who comes to conclusions before the completion, or start, of their investigation.

    If such was not the case, why would you hesitate to pick up a copy of the newest book by an award-winning author? However, what really takes the cake, and something you should seriously amend, is that after lambasting the book with such relish, there was an advertisement on the very same site to order the book. It wont help for Mr Champion to defend himself.

    He demonstrates he hasnt the capacity to understand a remarkable book describing a putrid stain. He would have been a follower — and possibly willing to participate directly. Absolutely everything you say is true about this atrocious book. I am tired of listening to the mob of Martel fans praise him and this book as it it were the most enlightening piece of literature of the century. Funny because it is true.

    What a strange person you are. Maybe you ought to get out a bit more. And, though I may not be as erudite as you, I honestly did not get confused over the tablecloth description. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, I suppose. I truly appreciate any reviewer that will lay it all out there. And it takes real dedication to finish a book that you detest, even if it is only pages.

    Because, really, do we really need another book about the Holocaust? As if nothing else of an atrocious manner has ever happened to another group of human beings anywhere in the world? Worse, using animals as allegories to depict the great horrors humans commit upon other humans is an horrific and cruel joke. The writing would have to be genius to justify anyone bothering with it. The writing style is just so incredibly damned pretentious.

    Beatrice and Virgil Summary & Study Guide Description

    Every page is tortured and self-conscious. First of all, you are clearly not an immigration attorney who is familiar with the laws of multiple countries; that is a rare specialty indeed. See INA Section b 5 , for example, among many others. In addition, the book never mentions what kind of visa Henry has or what his status is.

    A famous writer or artist or athlete, for example, can receive special treatment under certain circumstances. Be careful about throwing around assumptions and misinformation. Also be careful about focusing on details that are, at best, peripheral to the story. Second, your own verbal violence is repugnant even if it does not rise to the level of Mr. Hyperbole about shooting a real person with an AK or cutting his hands off is not humorous, at least not among decent people who purport to be adults with literary leanings.

    Third, what about the substance of the thing? I still think that Mr. Martel is a very gifted writer and I think that his ability shows through here and there in Beatrice and Virgil. However, I think that on the whole this book is a failed experiment — the thing boiled down to excessively sickening violence without original insight.

    I identify with your strong dislike of the book, though apparently for different reasons. I loved the book. Just finished it yesterday. Instead you concentrate on correcting its grammar and sentence construction like a disgruntled High School teacher. A book is a piece of art. I can only hope it was a joke, a bad joke. Notice that Mr. But to focus on his grammar alone instead of actually reading the text for depth and insight and his point of view on the Holocaust, and the pain of human suffering, and the countless other topics that Mr.

    Champion apparently has nothing to say about. Sorry for my bad grammar. If anyone chooses to attack my post, please base your arguments on my opinions, not my grammar or petty specific writing mistakes. I will add my voice. I have read the book. What is Martel adding to the dialectic? He is a magpie, fine, but he is dishonest by witholding the true origins, as he was in the limited way he acknowledged his taking the setup for Life of Pi from that Brazilian writer. There was a theft there, in that the acknowledgement was too little, too late. No, not even an interesting meta-text on an ending, not even believable as an allegory.

    Just intellectually flaccid. Thank you…Ed…. Yes… I loathed Beatrice and Virgil and spent several days erasing it from my mind…. Your review of Martel gives me hope. BTW, as much as I detested Beatrice and Virgil… no… I need to rephrase that… the word detest indicates a personal response…. I also objectively concluded that the book lacked a sliver of literary merit, based on all I know about literature and writing. Sorry… that sentence got off track.

    What I started to say was that I heard Martel speak at a book festival shortly before reading the book. He was brilliant — completely convincing in all his ideas. Yet somehow that abortion on paper was born from his intelligence and profound thinking. I guess that reality is a fact of life right? Beatrice and virgil is not a masterpiece, but the plot is interesting. The end gets a little messy, but, overall its a decent read. I dont think this criticism is in anyway sensible. Find a more objective voice. Some of the the review content was correct.

    But it was also a quite interesting story. And the complaints about the language are unfounded. And the one about the dangling modifier just wrong. In the end, it Beatrice and Virgil was a sneaky way to write about the Hollocaust, pretty much all a setup for Games for Gustav. Virgil that suffer ghastly persecution by humans. Henry agrees, and soon discovers that this gruff, emotionless preserver of dead animals is attempting the very thing his publishers told him he could not: represent the Holocaust through means other than historical realism. Nor, for that matter, does Martel with Beatrice and Virgil as a whole.

    The endless descriptions and abundant literary allusions Dante, Diderot, and Beckett, to name a few are extremely self-conscious. In his amateur theater group, Henry plays the Jewish lead in Nathan the Wise, an 18th-century drama about religious tolerance. So much for subtlety. And while the grand finale of an ending does offer a flicker of excitement, it teeters too close to B-movie theatrics to offer genuine satisfaction. Beatrice and Virgil.