Arts & Culture

‘Life of Pi’ Author To Pen Holocaust Novel

Did you like Yann Martel’s bestselling Booker-Award-winning book Life of Pi? If so, get ready for his next publication. The New York Times reports that Martel has a bright literary future ahead of him and that his next project will … Read More

By / July 20, 2009

Did you like Yann Martel’s bestselling Booker-Award-winning book Life of Pi? If so, get ready for his next publication. The New York Times reports that Martel has a bright literary future ahead of him and that his next project will be about the Shoah:

Like “Life of Pi,” the new book is an allegory — this time about the Holocaust — involving animals. It relates the story of an encounter between a famous writer and a taxidermist who is writing a play that features dialogue between a donkey and a monkey, both imprinted on a shirt. “I’ve noticed over the years of reading books on the Holocaust and seeing movies that it’s always represented in the same way, which is historical or social realism,” Mr. Martel, 46, said in a telephone interview from his home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. “I was thinking that it was interesting that you don’t have many imaginative takes on it like George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and its take on Stalinism.” 

Mr. Martel said that although there had been a few works — like “Life Is Beautiful” in film or the “Maus” books by Art Spiegelman — that had been more metaphorical, artists were generally “fearful of letting the imagination loose on the Holocaust.”

“So my novel is an attempt to get a distillation on it,” Mr. Martel said, “and see if there is a way of talking about the Holocaust without talking about it literally.”

If any author had talkes about their book this way, we might be a little skeptical, but in Yann Martel’s capable hands this book could really be something special.