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8 Reviews
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating carrots
I read this book in a day, unable to give it up. I then re-read it in a week, taking my time to savour the genius of martel's writing. It's been a long time since an author not only wrote an amazing tale but also wrote with such craft. Martel's use of language turns ordinary stuff into fascinating detail. I will read this over and over again; and I now see carrots in a...
Published on 26 Jun 2003 by yasmin

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing, however, story a bit too postmodern for my taste!
After 'The Life of Pi', Yann Martel established himself as a great author. However, I doubt as many people would have read the life of poi if they had read 'Self' first!

Yann Martel's writing is excellent, very well-paced and enjoyable to read. Hoiwever, I was really troubled by the story I must admit. In this book he tries to explore the pains of life through...
Published on 13 Dec 2006 by A. Voulgari


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing, however, story a bit too postmodern for my taste!, 13 Dec 2006
By 
This review is from: Self (Paperback)
After 'The Life of Pi', Yann Martel established himself as a great author. However, I doubt as many people would have read the life of poi if they had read 'Self' first!

Yann Martel's writing is excellent, very well-paced and enjoyable to read. Hoiwever, I was really troubled by the story I must admit. In this book he tries to explore the pains of life through anumber of different identities: the beginning of the book is autobiographical, then the main character suddenly becomes a lesbian woman. The identities continue to change without much warning or any particular reason. Yes, sex is very explicit in this book and so is violence. I suppose although I was quite drawn to it out of curiosity rather than suspense or un-put-down-ability of the book, I'm not quite sure I'd recommend it too highly. If you want a good introduction to Martel, start with the life if Pi!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decidedly odd..., 14 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Self (Paperback)
Upon hearing the name "Yann Martel", I assume people will immediately conjoin the words "Pi" and "Booker" to it. Yet for a canny insight into the award-winning writer's life (or so it seems), not to mention a less prophetic and philosophical read than his other work, Self would be the one to opt for.
The blurb reads "What is fiction? What is autobiography? Where do the two meet?", with this question repeated for Man-Woman and Violence-Happiness. I can safely say that Martel has indeed blurred the boundaries between these words, these concepts, thus demolishing societal norms and adding a delightful new dimension to the autobiography genre. I admit it may not be to the tastes of hardcore readers of this genre, but for those looking for a distinctly unique and heady mélange of fiction and reality (many of Martel's real experiences are subtly peppered in), there's simply no other place to go.
As for where Fiction & Autobiography, Man & Woman, or Violence & Happiness meet... read the book and decide for yourselves - the answer may not be what you expect, much like the novel itself.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating carrots, 26 Jun 2003
By 
yasmin (brighton, england) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Self (Paperback)
I read this book in a day, unable to give it up. I then re-read it in a week, taking my time to savour the genius of martel's writing. It's been a long time since an author not only wrote an amazing tale but also wrote with such craft. Martel's use of language turns ordinary stuff into fascinating detail. I will read this over and over again; and I now see carrots in a new light.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts very promising, but unfortunately loses the plot..., 11 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Self (Paperback)
I bought this book along with "Life of Pi", and chose to read it first. This is a very unusual book indeed. It starts off as an autobiography, and a rather delightful one too. We see a fascinating insight into the authors unusual childhood, and during the course of narration he explores a number of different subjects as might go though a child's mind. Then suddenly the book takes a completely unexpected turn - one can only imagine that he felt that at the stage of his life in which he was in, he did not have enough material to continue on an autobiographical slant. So his tale suddenly turns to one of pure fiction, though I guess he was still incorpoating things that had happenned in his life, he was retelling them as though he had been a woman. After the initial surprise, this works well for a while, although unfortunately he doesn't really know how to take the story forward, so it rather disintegrates into a kind of sexual fantasy, once you're about half way through the book. Nevertheless, (in my humble opinion) he does manage to capture the female perspective on life with a good deal of aplomb - to such an extent that the story loses any appeal to the male reader!
He then goes on to bring the story to a rather brutal and unfortunate end, without ever having explored the male / female switch in any great depth. Its a shame that after writing the initial account of his childhood he didn't simply shelve it until later in life where it could form part of a more complete autobiography. In any case, he is a very talented and original writer and I'm looking forward to reading Life of Pi.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Self-indulgent dribble, 7 Jun 2010
By 
J. Leow (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Self (Paperback)
I loved Life of Pi, and I am reading Beatrice & Virgil.

I am a Yann Martel admirer (I was at his recent book signing), but Self was so painful I gave up halfway.

It was self-indulgent dribble. Just painful. I guess the title should have been a warning...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bizarre but haunting..., 20 April 2009
By 
R. Duffield "RhiDuff" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Self (Paperback)
From eye-fish to fluid gender this book is full of far reaching ideas and pretty shocking in some parts - but i have always had a belief that the finest forms of art leave the reader / viewer with something...something they never expected. WHich this book certainly does - first read left me stunned, almost in shock and subsequent reads have elicited something different everytime, something which keeps me going back for more...but pretty fluffy tale with a happy ending this is not. If that's what you want go elsewhere, but if you like having your preconceptions and theories on the world challenged then this might just be the brainfood you're after...
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I have ever read, 24 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Self (Paperback)
This is one of the worst books I have ever read. It was so painful that I could only skim the better part of it. It reads like a book written in a hurry and lacking in purpose or conviction. All supporting characters are cardboard and the main seems a poor echo of Virginia Woolf's Orlando. Don't waste your time.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Food., 2 Sep 2008
This review is from: Self (Paperback)
I can fault this novel with only one observation. The exploration of any 'Self' is so complex that both the title and the set questions are not fully answered. Then again, the delicate equation between question and answer accounts for much of ones interest in the human psyche.. so where there is fault is only a higher interest level on the reader's behalf.

Simply, this book is well worth the read. It may be distant from what you expect if you have read 'Life of Pi'. 'Self' is another of Martel's books I devoured, quite like a devout story animal. 5 stars really...
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Self
Self by Yann Martel (Paperback - 7 April 2003)
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