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Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

Beatrice and Virgil

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Selected by Sarah Broadhurst

One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011.

July 2011 Book of the Month.

This is an utterly beguiling, magical, fable-like story that uses the relationships between humans and animals to address much bigger themes including those about life and art, truth and deception, responsibility and complicity. Like his multi-million copy selling and Booker Prize winning Life of Pi, the reader is taken on an odyssey but this time to address the emotional legacy of the holocaust through Henry, an ordinary man with whom the reader will care greatly for and through Beatrice and Virgil, a donkey and a howler monkey. It’s written on many different levels so it’s a book that is bound to create a big buzz both for and against it. Views are divided here but lovers of Life of Pi will I think find this an absorbing but possibly heart-breaking tale.

If you like Yann Martel you might also like to read books by Jim Crace, Haruki Murakami and Justin Cartwright.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

This is the story of an extraordinary journey undertaken by a man named Henry. It begins with a mysterious parcel. It ends in a place that will make you think again about one of the most significant events of the twentieth century. It also involves a howler monkey, a donkey, an enigmatic taxidermist, and a dog named Erasmus. Once you have finished reading it, it is impossible to forget.


'A provocative and fiercely brave novel. It grips the reader with teeth as sharp as a Bengal tiger's' - John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

'A sophisticated fable...Beatrice and Virgil is so imbued with passionate moral and intellectual ardor that even the cynical should find it engaging.' - Wall Street Journal

'It's a masterpiece, no question.' - A N Wilson, Reader's Digest

'An explosion of ideas that keep the pages turning...a wild, provocative novel' - Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Yann Martel

Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 of Canadian parents. After studying philosophy at university, he worked at odd jobs and travelled before turning to writing. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed 2002 Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, as well as the novel Self, the stories The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, and the collection of letters to the Prime Minister of Canada What is Stephen Harper Reading?. Yann Martel lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Author photo © Alice Kuiper

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Book Info

Publication date

7th July 2011


Yann Martel

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Canongate Books Ltd


224 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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