- Title: Self
- Author: Yann Martel
- ISBN: 9780571219766
- Page: 394
- Format: Paperback
Edgy, funny and devastating, Self is the fictional autobiography of a young writer at the heart of which is a startling twist This extraordinary life meanders through a rich, complicated, bittersweet world The discoveries of childhood give way to the thousand pangs of adolescence, culminating in the sudden shocking news of an accident abroad And as adulthood begins, indEdgy, funny and devastating, Self is the fictional autobiography of a young writer at the heart of which is a startling twist This extraordinary life meanders through a rich, complicated, bittersweet world The discoveries of childhood give way to the thousand pangs of adolescence, culminating in the sudden shocking news of an accident abroad And as adulthood begins, indecisively, boundaries are crossed between countries, languages and people .
Recent Comments "Self"
Er, it seems that I am one of the only people on that loved this book. And love it I did. I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed every aspect of it, from the fluidity of gender, to the beauty of involving different languages, to the pain and bliss of love, sexual awakening and travel. It was a rollicking good read. I felt like I actually knew the narrator inside and out, which is something that I've found lacking in a lot of the books that I have read recently. The rape scene at the end was indeed p [...]
I can only assume that part of the reason this book has such a low rating is the horrified fans of Life of Pi, who, confused by Ang Lee’s pretty movie, remember that story as a cute fairytale about a kid and a tiger in a boat and are still high on fairytale dust. Oh, shocker! Yann Martel writes about sex. Cover your eyes and hide away. He uses the word cock, too, in reference to something other than one of his beloved and frequently used animal metaphors. Nothing metaphorical about the cocks i [...]
It is SO HARD FOR ME TO LIKE THIS BOOK. It's like somebody told Yann Martel: "You know what's really hot in contemporary lit right now? Poetry, transgender issues, and made-up memoirs. YOU should write one." People read autobiographies because the personalities behind them have led fascinating, meaningful existences. If you're going to MAKE UP an autobiography, you have the opportunity to magically create some of that aforementioned fascinating-ness: "There, have some meaning! BAMMO, be a fascin [...]
I've just read through a number of other reviews on this book, and as one finds with almost every book ever read, the opinions are polarised.There were some things about this book I really enjoyed. I enjoy the 2-column pages where there is an original language beside an English translation, or a conversation in some other language while a completely nonplussed English monologue goes along beside it What fun! And a lot of the things he says about the Self are things I have thought, or wondered, [...]
I'd read 'Life of Pi' a few years ago, so when this book came to me as a birthday gift I was excited to read another book by Yann Martel. It took me a few pages to get used to the writing style presented here - a mix of flashbacks and future shots and short bits that didn't make much sense at the moment. After the first 20 pages or so, I could barely put it down and fell in love with the style. A great book, though some of the events are a bit mystifying and other ones downright tragic and heart [...]
This is a great example of how amazing writing can carry an entire book. I tried to explain to a friend why I loved this book and why they should read it but literally I've no idea how to explain. Yann Martel has a talent for story telling. I think unlike a lot of readers because I read 'life of Pi' about 7 years ago (when it first came out), I wasn't expecting anything like that when I picked this up. This was a story about life, about love, travel, growth, language, friendship, men, women sex, [...]
Self has good characterization and fluid writing, but nothing to hold it all together. The descriptions are vibrant but not thought-provoking. I enjoyed the use of the novel as a format to adumbrate imaginary stories and novels (those "written" by the narrator) which would never work as actual books, a technique also found in Slaughterhouse Five and the stories of Jorge Luis Borges. In Self, Martel uses various experimental postmodernistic techniques (such as starting Chapter Two on the last pag [...]
For a brief time, towards the end of the novel, I was actively enjoying reading it. A bit before that, it was at least tolerable. But with the late game-changing plot-twist, the book lost me.The novel is about the life of a person who is biologically born (and identifies)as a (cis) man. Then, when he wakes up on his 18th birthday, he discovers he has turned into a biological/cis female, and begins identifying as such. There is no surprise, no change of psyche. She just goes "oh huh I'm a girl no [...]
To me Self is an example of a novel being stronger as fragments, rather than the sum of its parts. Martel's first book is an adventurous experiment in narrative, one that features numerous languages and constantly forces the reader to question it. As a full length novel, I think Self fails because it is just too ambitiously scattered. Perhaps intentionally, the book is similar to the attempted stories written by the narrator. There is plenty thought and big ideas behind the writing, but they tak [...]
I just don't think I understood this book. It was written like a diary but there were (almost) no chapters or dates. One of the comments on the back of my copy of the book says the novel is a meditation on identity but I only really noticed one aspect of identity and that was an exploration on sexuality. So I didn't really notice too much exploration into the character's identity. One of the issues I have with this novel is that it's about a writer trying to write a novel. I think this is a them [...]
I am seriously at a loss about how to rate this book. I felt almost voyeuristic when reading this at times. I wanted to shake or comfort the main character frequently. There were parts that dragged and dragged. More than once, I considred setting it aside and moving to something else, but then I would remember that beautiful bit at the beginning describing love as fish in his eyes, and I would give it another shot. And would then find another beautiful snippet that would keep me going. I had to [...]
*sucks air through teeth*Oooh. Hmm. This is a tough one. This book took me an uncharacteristically long time to read. Not because it was difficult, but because it didn't really hook me at any point. Then I blasted through the last 100 pages when it went from a plodding tale to a roller coaster ride because it was heaven and then hell and allmovingsoquickly. Then the brakes were slammed and it was all over. I felt like I had missed something. Did I miss something? I don't suppose stories have to [...]
It's almost unbelievable that this and Life of Pi were written by the same author.The tone of Self is so absurdly different from Pi's. It offers no conclusion to speak of, nor explanation, it is ragingly atheist almost to the point of being nihilistic. And yet it is just as enlightening.That is to say, it's a much more difficult read. Self holds your hand less than the grand majority of books, offers no guidance as to what you are supposed to grasp from it, yet it offers so much to the philosoph [...]
A strange book that I am not sure if I liked or not. I think this is Martell emerging as the writer who created Life of Pi, but he is nowhere near his later standard with this novel. Self is incredibly self-indulgent (perhaps purposefully, given the title). At times it works well and it makes some valuable reflections of life and existential dillemas, other times it comes across as completely contrived and hollow. I found the frequency of sex scenes distracting from the story, not least of all b [...]
I HATED THIS BOOK! I was so disappointed, since it was recommended to me by two different friends whose tastes I respect. It made me think: am I missing something here?There were a few sections that I really enjoyed - Yann Martel's descriptions are always so colourful - but as a whole, I just found the book sloppy and confusing. Parts of it just outright annoyed me. Maybe it's because I don't think [spoilers removed]. I got to the end and flipped through the last few pages, thinking "is this rea [...]
For the first five-sixths of this novel I was thinking, "Ohmigod this is the platonic ideal for novels. This is hands down the best book I have ever read." It's a faux-memoir about a person who magically and for no apparent reason fluctuates between gender, which is bizarre yet totally fascinating, and the language and storytelling are utter rhapsody.And then, at the five-sixths point the WORST POSSIBLE THING HAPPENED: It turned into a concrete poem. About rape. Yann Martel, why did you do it?? [...]
This is by far the worst book I have ever read. I believe that I frequently threw it across the room while reading it, which is a testament to my stubborness because I still finished it.The main character of the book has an interesting history, but everything becomes convoluted when he changes sexes in the middle of the book (not through a sex change: the character unexplainably becomes a woman). The writing is strong and paints beautiful pictures, but the plot was too twisted for me to enjoy.
okay, so when i started out reading this book, i had some good hopes for it. i laughed out loud a few times. and there was some great imagery in the description of our eyes being pools with fish in them. beautiful words, really. and then, i just kept getting lost in descriptions that i didn't care about at all-- that weren't even ideal to telling the story (whatever story it was). toward the middle and through to the end it just became cumbersome. i basically MADE myself finish it because i was [...]
coming off of life of pi, i had high expectations. i saw potential in the opening pages, in the play with gender identity, but it wasn't long before it fell flat. and i mean FLAT. remember in life of pi, when you're lost at sea convinced you'll never be found and drenched in boredom, excruciating boredom? well, that happens here too only without all the confidence that a couple hundred pages of compelling fiction can give you.i say skip it. or read it and prove me wrong.
I read this a long time ago, before Martel was famous and I enjoyed it. It's a difficult read in the sense that time and point of view are very flexible, not to mention that the plot is a bit cloudy.
it's one of those books that you feel like you're long time friends with the character, who's hiding nothing from you. very personal and emotional, it surprised me time and again. being really bold in some descriptions. funny at times but also dramatic and sad.
Weird and difficult at times. Addresses issues of gender and self (see title). Certainly not for everyone but if you are willing to read something weird and different and kinda good but not great
I HAD to read it for an English course and threw it out afterwards! It was a disturbing, crude, and cheap imitation of Virginia Wolf's "Orlando."
I could not help but dislike this book. It was like Yann Martel was trying to be as edgy as possible and because of this the book lacked reality. I'm actually surprised this was published
Liked this and studied it with my book reading club. Very talented man and was able to make the gender transitions complete with out a false note.
I didn't finish this. I absolutely loved Life Of Pi but cannot waste anymore valuable reading time on this. It's not for me.
As is typical of most Canadian fiction, this is a strange strange book. Yet it intrigued me and kept me reading. For that, I am appreciative. Would I recommend it? The jury is still out on that one.
Couldn't stand this one. What a complete 360 from The Life of Pi.
Clever idea, but crossed too many boundaries and became too weird for me.
I've had this book on my shelf for quite a few years now, every so often I would attempt to read it and could never get further than the first page or two as it goes into descriptive detail about feces. It was hardly a page and a half about the subject, but for lack of interest I would always put the book down mid-sentence and back on the shelf. Last summer I bought Life of Pi and fell in love with it, so I decided to give Yann Martel another try and just recently forced myself to read this book [...]
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