Self Paperback – 7 Apr 2003
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"Let me tell you a secret: The name of the greatest living writer of the generation born in the sixties is Yann Martel." --" L'Humanite ""This is an exhilarating piece of fiction, as bold and original as anything I've read in a long time." -- Charles Foran, "Montreal Gazette ""A powerful story, punctuated by humour and tragedy in much the way real life is. -- Like Rohinton Mistry and Michael Ondaatje, Martel is a brilliant storyteller." -- "Vancouver Sun ""Superb -- Masterfully written. -- Martel has an almost otherworldly talent. -- He is a powerful writer and storyteller, almost a force of nature." -- "Edmonton Journal ""Yann Martel wonderfully represents the child's universe as a seamless whole...A penetrating, funny, original and absolutely delightful exploration.... [Martel] is a natural and often brilliant essayist and expositor, with a knack for aphorism and a rich cultural and literary foundation." -- "Globe and Mail ""So vigorous and confident and sure-footed...so compelling, that Self's education does end up being part of the reader's. Like all good educations, it is hard to forget, once absorbed." --" Toronto Star" "Engaging...There's some real insight here....Self is filled with things that sound a lot like the truth...now and again you encounter things that read so true, the sound they make resonates for hours, or even days. Self is still ringing in my ears." -- "Hour Magazine" "Mesmerizing...Linguistic treats dance across the page, and the subject -- a young person's life -- careens between the remarkably realistic and the wildly imaginative.... Martel is a gifted writer: his language saunters and soars.... Martel addresses important issues anddoes so creatively and seriously. He deserves to be read." --" Calgary Herald"
Self by Yann Martel - the acclaimed author of Life of Pi - is the fictional autobiography of a young writer; edgy, funny and devastating, with a startling twist at its very heart . . .See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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.
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...
I won't say I enjoyed all of Self as I found it unsettling and then deeply upsetting. It was well worth reading because of that, but I wouldn't recommend it if you like satisfying stories with a clear structure.
His later book, Beatrice &Virgil, is an easier read that still shows his knack for unsettling story telling.
Warning: despite having bought Life of Pi in hardcover on publication, I have never managed to finish it in several attempts. I suspect that if you loved that, going back to Self is not a great idea.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In many ways not an easy read - it changes direction and tone unexpectedly more than once - but a very intimate and intricate portrayal of life's experiences, and (in my opinion)... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Stripey
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... Read morePublished on 20 April 2009 by R. Duffield
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. Read morePublished on 2 Sept. 2008 by Matter Stret