The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios: Stories Hardcover – 1 Sep 2004
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"Those who would believe that the art of fiction is moribund - let them read Yann Martel with astonishment, delight and gratitude" Alberto Manguel; "A small masterpiece.... A serious and convincing work that demands to be read" Guardian; "Yann Martel is a vivid and entrancing story-teller." Sunday Telegraph"
A brilliant collection of stories from the Booker Prize-winning author of Life of Pi --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The topics of these short works are highly unusual, which I believe makes them interesting overall, but at some points I found myself feeling that the author was trying to be unique to the extreme, and therefore, going overboard. The first story is the one that gives name to the collection, and the one I found to be the most touching. In this narration, the author presents the account of his relationship with a friend from college and the events that unfolded after this friend was diagnosed with AIDS. Martel shows a natural ability for reaching the heart of the reader with its vibrant descriptions of the emotions the characters experience when faced with such an enormous tragedy. Maybe the fact that the story is based on a real life event, that the author had to face, helped him with making it so vivid.
The other three stories use as topics a peculiar concert in Washington DC with references to how the Vietnam war affected the life of many, a collection of letters with different outcomes regarding the termination of a prisoner waiting for his death sentence, and a machine that makes mirrors by feeding on stories.Read more ›
On offer here are 4 short stories from the authors earlier work (before life of pi). Stories here range from a story about the authors relationship with a friend suffering from AIDS and a story shared between them; a story about a war veteran composing music; a series of letters from a prison warden sent to the mother of an inmate; and the last being a story about the authors relationship with his grandmother and discovering a rare antique in her many possessions.
The stories themselves don't sound so interesting, until that is, you read them. Martel is an inventive wordsmith and and a lot of these stories (particularly the first and last stories) left me with a lot of food for thought. His blurring of fiction and autobiography is mesmeric, quite simply, and there is a lot of content to these simple stories for you to ponder.
Who would I say this is for? Newbies to Martel, his work is in a more digestible form here and is easier to take on board than his occasionally ponderous later work (yes, life of pi is ponderous, fantastic as it is).
And when dealing with an art form, isn't that truly all we as readers can ask for?
The book is broken up into 4 stories and each is as different as they are off the wall. The first one, and the name sake of the title of the book describes a time when the author was in the tragic position of watching a good friend die from aids. He refrains from giving away too much of the interactions of the dying friend and for this I applaud him. It is up to him if he wants to bear his soul, but not fair to bear someone else's. This story is truly tragic and although not written as a tear jerker, or to particularly shock it manages both through the clever writing which really helps you to understand what it must have been like. This story to me is the most obviously powerful and well worth opening the book to.
The second short story concerns a piece of music that the author hears whilst visiting what appears to be quite an obnoxious friend (not relevant to the book though). This is a peculiar and somewhat less poignant story but powerful in it's own right.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i love this book; the title did not put me off - it is the trademark of this author. The book arrived on time in good conditionPublished on 28 Dec. 2011 by mart1n
The first story, 'The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios', was one of the most touching and emotive stories I have ever read. This collection is worth buying just for that. Read morePublished on 3 Feb. 2010 by A. Niven
Yann Martel's collection of four short stories has the easy, pleasing prose of his Booker winner (Life Of Pi) translating well to the shorter form. Read morePublished on 18 Sept. 2009 by Eileen Shaw
This is a collection of four short stories (in large font, double-spaced, to make the book appear longer than it is) written by Martel before he became famous for his Booker-prize... Read morePublished on 26 Mar. 2009 by Oliver Redfern
I bought this having read and loved the Life of Pi and was extremely moved by the stories in this book, particularly by the first story. Read morePublished on 18 Aug. 2008 by Muppet
I bought this book having read, and loved, The Life Of Pi. What a spectacular waste of money and time.
This 'collection' is pretentious, abstract nonsense. Read more