After reading this second novel by Yann Martel, I was left confused. I could hardly manage to pick a side. This happens very often with most of the people who have adored people and respected them for their work, but later on they regret to have liked those awful things in the past. I was in a similar situation. I liked the novel for its first half, but then I found it really difficult to follow. I think the novel could have done a great job even without the animal characters, Beatrice and Virgil. The Author tries to invoke sympathy from the readers but he has failed there too as both the characters are laconic and at the same time repetitive.
The novel revolves around Henry-the taxidermist, Henry-the writer, Beatrice-the monkey and Virgil-the donkey. At the end, we came to know that taxidermist also happens to be a Nazi. Before we come to know about this, the author never gave us a clue why the taxidermist was so introvert and rude. Henry goes to taxidermist, helps him by giving some writing tips and came back wondering why the man is so much thankless! In between all of these, Beatrice and Virgil talks to each other in a way that makes no sense. Blabbering bores.
So, why you should read it? Well, only for the first half that offers some witty lines and narrations that form the cream of this novel. Too much animalization of the characters has made this novel more of a comic book rather than a good piece of fiction. The author makes an impact on the readers only when he talks about himself. Repetitive narrations and clichés are very much evident in most parts of the book.