I follow www.waterstones.com on Facebook and last week they wrote an entry saying they had a few copies of Beatrice and Virgil by the Booker Prize winner Yann Martel to give away providing it's read and then reviewed on their site. I apllied thinking I probably wouldn't receive one. Well, I was wrong and a copy turned up this morning! I am chuffed to bits. The book is a proof version as it's not on general release. Publishing date is April the 13th I believe.
This is what Goodreads have to say on the book.
Fate can take many forms. For Henry, a writer living in a foreign city, it arrives in the form of an envelope from a reader. Instead of the usual fan mail, the envelope contains a story by Flaubert, a scene from a play featuring two characters named Beatrice and Virgil, and a note asking for Henry’s help. The note is signed “Henry,” and the return address is not far from where Henry lives. When Henry walks his dog to hand-deliver his response, he is surprised to discover a taxidermist’s shop. Here, stunning specimens are poised on the brink of action, silent and preternaturally still, yet bursting with the palpable life of a lost, vibrant world. And when the mysterious, elderly taxidermist introduces his visitor to Beatrice and Virgil—a donkey and a howler monkey—Henry’s life is changed forever.
Yann Martel’s previous novel, Life of Pi, has become a modern classic. A fantastical tale about a boy and a tiger shipwrecked in the Pacific, it asked probing questions about belief and reality. Now Martel has written another story that uses animals to examine our humanity. In Beatrice and Virgil, he poses enduring questions about life and art, truth and deception, responsibility and complicity. Haunting and unforgettable, this is an extraordinary feat of storytelling.