I just finished reading Beatrice and Virgil, by Yann Martel. I highly recommend you go to your local library right now, find it, and read it.
And- if you’re planning on reading it and haven’t yet (which I do hope you are), I don’t think this blog will be a huge spoiler for you. Just like Life of Pi, this book is open to a plethora of interpretations and understandings.
Some excerpts that caught my attention:
“But, the worst enemy of taxidermy, and also of animals, is indifference.” (97)
“But, the worst enemy…is indifference.” (97)
“I wanted to see if something could be saved once the irreparable had been done. That is why I became a taxidermist, to bear witness.” (98)
“Faith is like being in the sun. When you are in the sun, can you avoid creating a shadow? Can you shake that area of darkness that clings to you, always shaped like you, as if constantly reminding you of yourself? You can’t. This shadow is doubt. And it goes wherever you go as long as you stay in the sun. And who wouldn’t want to be in the sun?” (103)
“They insulted me repeatedly, though, I wouldn’t say they were angry or worked up. They were just doing their job.
It ended later in the day, around five-o-clock, I suppose, after a day’s work was done. Home beckoned. They unstrapped me from the harness and threw me into a small cell. After two days and nights of solitary confinement, pain-ridden and foodless, I was released. They opened my cell door, stood me up, marched me out, and left me outside the gate. Not a word was said. I didn’t know where you were and you didn’t know where I was” (179).
That last one is a quote from the book where Beatrice is describing the “Horrors."
I’d heard those words before. Not from Yann Martel.
But from migrants, recently deported.
Perhaps Yann Martel writes that to warn us against the hatred that leads us in the wrong direction.