Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel


beatrice and virgil

Fiction, being closer to the full experience of life, should take precedence over nonfiction. Stories–individual stories, family stories, national stories–are what stitch together the disparate elements of human existence into a coherent whole. We are story animals.

Their similarities called for novel and essay to be published together; respect for the rights of each, separately. Hence, after much thinking on Henry’s part, the choice of the flip book.

A flip book is a book with two front doors, but no exit.

The full stop in his refusal had resounded like the pad of a judge’s gavel being struck.

This was a room full of adjectives, like a Victorian novel.

The monkey and the donkey. Winnie the Pooh meets the Holocaust.”

Henry took a breath and put a firm lid on his high spirits.

There was silence, that silence the taxidermist was so comfortable with, in person and in his writing, that silence in which things can grow or rot.

Henry shuddered. He wanted to wash his hands, his soul, of this man forever. He felt tainted by him.


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