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Yann Martel’s “shocking” new novel

Yann Martel’s follow-up to Life of Pi, titled Beatrice and Virgil and due in June 2010, is already generating controversy in the U.K., where Martel’s publisher, Canongate, has described the novel, an allegory about the Holocaust, as “shocking.”

From CBC News:

According to Jamie Byng, managing director and publisher of Canongate, “it will take us somewhere truly unexpected and shocking” and asks “profound moral and philosophical questions about the nature of love and evil.”

Despite the nine-year gap between Life of Pi and its successor, Martel has been keeping busy. In addition to the new novel, Martel wrote a 14-stanza original poem about water for Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté’s “poetic space mission,” broadcast from the International Space Station on Oct.9.

Martel has also been wondering what Stephen Harper is reading, and has published a book based on his attempts to get the Prime Minister to read literary works that encourage “stillness” — including Martel’s own.