It’s not good. In fact, it’s probably as bad a review as any author might fear from the critical Kakutani,

[Beatrice and Virgil] is every bit as misconceived and offensive as his earlier book was fetching.

The only positive consumer review so far is from USA Today‘s book critic, Dierdre Donahue, although she makes it sound tough going,

Up until about page 117, Yann Martel’s new novel, Beatrice and Virgil, appears teeth-grindingly precious. Then, click, you realize: Martel knows exactly what he’s doing in this lean little allegory about a talking donkey and monkey.

This novel just might be a masterpiece about the Holocaust.

Alan Cheuse, in the San Francisco Chronicle calls it “one of the most confounding books I’ve read in a long while.” At the end of a review in which he manfully tries to figure the book out, he gives up and exclaims,

As for this mixture of mock self-effacement, literary posturing and pretentiousness, I would say: Stuff it!

Among the prepub reviews, only Booklist‘s was positive, giving it a star.

For a look at the tortured process of publishing this book, see “Yann Martel’s Life After Pi“, in the National Post of Canada,

Beatrice and Virgil
Yann Martel
Retail Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau – (2010-04-13)
ISBN / EAN: 1400069262 / 9781400069262

RH Audio: UNABR; 9780307715159; $30
Large Print: trade pbk; 9780739377802; $24
Adobe EPUB eBook and WMA Audiobook available from OverDrive

One Response to “Kakutani on BEATRICE AND VIRGIL”

  1. Tiffany Says:

    I received the ARC of this book at PLA and hated it. The only reason I finished the book was because it was only 200 pages and I read a review where it had a “flicker of excitment” at the end. It wasn’t worth the 200 pages for the excitment. Next book please!