Yann Martel and the Alpha Male

Added my brief review of Lisa Pulitzer and Cole Thompson’s Portrait of a Monster over at Good Reports. It’s the story of Joran van der Sloot, widely regarded as the murderer of Natalee Holloway and now serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the murder of Stephany Flores. Van der Sloot liked to think of himself as an “alpha male” and I go off a bit on the mis-use and misunderstanding of this label.

There’s also an interesting CanLit connection to the story. According to interviews done at the time, Van der Sloot was working on an essay on Yann Martel’s Life of Pi the night of Natalee Holloway’s disappearance. In his own words, “Pi is a boy lost at sea on a boat with a lion, monkey, and a zebra.”

I don’t know if investigators ever followed up on this. Anyone who has read the book will recall that Pi is lost at sea on a boat with a Bengal tiger, an orangutan, a zebra, and a hyena. Given that a picture of a tiger appears on the cover of most editions of the book that I’ve seen, I wonder if Van der Sloot had even bothered to look at it, much less read it. But then alpha males don’t have a reputation for reading a lot, do they?

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