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.