Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ke-Ma)

Martell, Yann

revealing book boy lifeboat

(Canadian, 1963– )

Martell's first novel Self (1996) seems at first to be a meticulous autobiography, unusual only in that some passages are written in another language with the English translation printed alongside, revealing both the difficulty of understanding others, and the schizophrenia of being bilingual. But Martell's exploration of identity goes on to transform his boy narrator into a female adult, and then, after a gruelling rape (also recorded on split pages, revealing thought and feeling) back into a male. Life of Pi (2002, Booker winner) is equally original, telling the story of a teenage boy in a lifeboat on the Pacific for 227 days with a Bengal tiger. I avoided this book for months, fearing whimsical magic realism; but I couldn't have been more wrong. The lifeboat journey is fascinatingly, gruesomely real, and the philosophical and religious underpinnings of the book utterly engaging. One of Martell's many achievements here is to prove why fiction is necessary; this novel is a great celebration of the imagination.

Ernest Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea), Rudyard Kipling, Virginia Woolf (Orlando)  JR

Martin, George R. R. [next] [back] Mars-Jones, Adam

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