Revised and with a new author’s note and cover, here is Man Booker Prize–winning author Yann Martel’s debut.
First published in 1993, this remarkable collection of four stories launched the career of a masterful writer. In the exquisite title novella, a young man dying of AIDS joins his friend in fashioning a story of the Roccamatio family of Helsinki, set against the yearly march of the twentieth century, whose horrors and miracles their story echoes. In “The Time I Heard the Private Donald J. Rankin String Concerto with One Discordant Violin, by the American Composer John Morton,” a Canadian university student visits Washington, DC and experiences the Vietnam War and its aftermath through an intense musical encounter. “Manners of Dying” has variations of a warden’s letter to the mother of a son he has just executed, revealing how each life is contained in its end. Finally, in “The Vita Aeterna Mirror Company,”
a young man discovers a strange contraption in his grandmother’s basement. As the machine runs, she reflects upon her beloved husband.
The award-winning author of six books, the most recent of which is Beatrice & Virgil, YANN MARTEL was born in Spain in 1963. He studied philosophy at Trent University, worked at odd jobs--tree planter, dishwasher, security guard--and travelled widely before turning to writing. He was awarded the Journey Prize for the title story in The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios. Life of Pi won the 2002 Man Booker, among other prizes, and is an international bestseller. Yann Martel lives in Saskatoon with the writer Alice Kuipers and their children. His next book is The High Mountains of Portugal (2016).
“Let me tell you a secret: the name of the greatest living writer of the generation born in the Sixties is Yann Martel.”
“A small masterpiece … a serious and convincing work that demands to be read.”
—The Guardian (UK)
“Martel’s first book arrives with literary bells ringing … the title story is among the most highly praised in recent memory.”
—The Gazette (Montreal)
“This is one of those rare debuts that raises real hope and shows a principled talent excitingly capable of further growth.”
—The Observer (UK)
“Yann Martel’s brilliant storytelling...shines brightly.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Those who would believe that the art of fiction is moribund — let them read Yann Martel with astonishment, delight and gratitude.”