This superb debut hailed for its power, compassion and elegance takes in the wide sweep of human experience. From the last hours of a condemned man, to the imaginary life of an AIDS patient, to the first performance of a bizarre new symphony, Yann Martel's stories are moving, thought-provoking and as inventive in form as they are timeless in ...
This superb debut hailed for its power, compassion and elegance takes in the wide sweep of human experience. From the last hours of a condemned man, to the imaginary life of an AIDS patient, to the first performance of a bizarre new symphony, Yann Martel's stories are moving, thought-provoking and as inventive in form as they are timeless in content. They display the startling mix of dazzle and depth, that have made him an international phenomenon.
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-11-01 Pathos is leavened with inventiveness and humor in this collection of a novella and three short stories first published in a slightly different version in Canada in 1993, nearly 10 years before Martel's Booker-winning Life of Pi. The minor key is established in the title novella, a graceful, multilayered story of a young man dying of AIDS, told through the refracting lens of the history of the 20th century. Infected by a blood transfusion, Paul receives the diagnosis during his freshman year of college. The narrator, Paul's student mentor, devises a plan to keep Paul engaged in life-they will invent the story of the Roccamatio family of Helsinki, which will have 100 chapters, each thematically linked to an event of the 20th century. The connection between the history, the stories and Paul's condition is subtle and always shifting, as fluid and elusive as life itself. The experience of death is delicately probed in the next two stories as well: in one, a Canadian student's life is changed when he hears the Rankin Concerto, written in honor of a Vietnam veteran; in the other, a prison warden reports to a mother on her son's last moments before he is executed. The book closes with a surreal fable in which mirrors are made from memories. These are exemplary works of apprenticeship, slight yet richly satisfying. Agent, Jackie Kaiser. (Dec.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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