Yann Martel’s ‘Beatrice & Virgil’ to pub in April

Yann Martel

Today Random House announced the April 13 publication of Beatrice & Virgil, a new novel from Canadian author Yann Martel—his first since the surprise 2002 hit Life of Pi. The book was previously scheduled for a summer release.

Few details are available, though Amazon has this description:

A famous author receives a mysterious letter from a man who is a struggling writer but also turns out to be a taxidermist, an eccentric and fascinating character who does not kill animals but preserves them as they lived, with skill and dedication — among them a howler monkey named Virgil and a donkey named Beatrice.

The animal characters and the names Virgil and Beatrice, drawn from Dante’s Divine Comedy, hint at a Pi-like aesthetic for the new book, which has also been described as an allegory for the Holocaust. Jamie Byng, the Managing Director at Martel’s Canadian publisher, Canongate, acknowledged the difficulty of following up a book like Pi but promises that “Yann has risen to the challenge by writing another exceptional novel, a wildly imaginative and multi-layered story that engrosses from the first page.”

Confession: I didn’t read Life of Pi. Any fans want to tell me what I’m missing? Are you looking forward to the new book?

Related in BookPage: our review of Martel’s story collection, The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios.

10 Responses to Yann Martel’s ‘Beatrice & Virgil’ to pub in April

  1. Eliza says:

    Life of Pi is pretty wonderful… about a teenage boy (a practicing Christan, Muslim and Hindu) is trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Part fantasy, part adventure story, part spiritual journey — you would like it, I think!

  2. Steph says:

    You know, Life of Pi is one of those books that people either seem to really like or really not like! I am in the former camp, however, as I think it is one of those books that floats along quite innocuously until the end, when bam! Best ending EVER. It’s one of those books where the ending elevates the whole thing, I think.

  3. Heather J. says:

    I’m intrigued by the concept of this new book. I didn’t think I’d like LIFE OF PI so I listened to the audio book when my book club chose it a while back. Ends up that I LOVED it; I found it to be very unusual in a good way. Maybe try the audio version – it was very well done.

  4. Dropping in from twitter. I liked the life of Pi, so will be checking this one out. It sounds intriguing.

  5. Nadia says:

    I hated Life of Pi and just found the whole hoopla surrounding it to be misguided and completely unfounded. I’m definitely not looking forward to his next book.

  6. Heather J. says:

    I meant to add this to my comment earlier: I think I enjoyed it so much b/c I had such low expectations – many people went into it expecting it to be great and ended up disappointed. I thought it would be horrible and ended up loving it. ~LOL~

  7. […] and Virgil by Yann Martel (April) His second novel needs no introduction (and besides, we’ve already been there on this blog!). Will it achieve the stratospheric success of Life of […]

  8. […] take the place of a boy and a tiger on a life raft. Now, if we could only get galleys!  (via) More on Beatrice and Virgil on The Book Case. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Yann Martel’s ‘Beatrice & […]

  9. […] already know we’re excited about the latest novels from Yann Martel (April 13) and Ian McEwan (March 29). But as we plan the April issue of BookPage, it’s becoming […]

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