self by yann martel is one of the weirdest books i have ever read. the book is none longer than your average paperback novel, but by the end of this book, i was quite breathless – and i have to admit, somewhat relief.
it is not a bad read. it is just demanding in a draining sorta way. you know how in some books, you can just swim from word to word, and the words eventually reads itself while the story plays in your head? this story has that, but it is written in a way that insist that you pay attention to every word. phaze out for just a paragraph, and you’re lost. the sentences are that compact, everyone of them are that important.
the novel, in this sense, transcends being a leisurely read. it is not unenjoyable. it is just difficult.
the story – without giving away spoilers – is about an unnamed protagonist who is born a boy. he transforms into a girl at 18th and somewhere in her 20s, transforms back into a man. the transformations are seamless and not shocking. you can already tell that it is a novel about gender awareness and boy, is this novel OBSESSED about gender and all of its issues. and shamelessly so. there were several parts of the book that left me almost traumatised. i kid you not.
just because you enjoyed life of pi, you might not exactly be a huge fan of this book. the creative twists are much more refined in pi’s story, as opposed to being so crude in this book.
personally, if you are happy with life of pi, this book might do very little at extending that satisfaction. but if you are a serious reader – and i do mean a very serious reader – then you might want to give this book a shot. it is not a bad book. it is just that the dimensions explored can be a bit much. this is definitely the deep end of contemporary literature.