Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life of Pi

Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.
The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it more true?

Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.

I've been meaning to read this book for years. I've heard nothing but good things about it, and I've tried several times but I never managed to read past the first couple of chapters. Until I got over my moodiness and just sat down and read. And I'm so glad that I did. It was a wonderful book and I cannot believe it took me so long to actually pick it up and really give a try.

I loved the way the story is told by Pi (Piscine Molitor Patel) a sixteen year old from India. He's the second son of a zoo keeper/owner, he's curious about religion and their relationship with God, he loves animals and he wishes that he was more like his brother. A normal teenager. He's also the only survivor of a terrible shipwreck. Human survivor that is, there's Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger. This is their story. It's the story of their survival. But once he's safe and sound he's questioned about the facts of his ordeal. And until then you truly do not question his story. In the end I wasn't able to decide which story I liked the best. The story with the animals or the story with the people.

I only know that I loved the book.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (5/5) General Fiction; Published: Knopf (9/2001); New Author; Canadian Reads; Canadian Book Challenge 4 (1); 1001 You Must Read (79); Books 2010 (74);

1 comment:

stacybuckeye said...

This one is one my stack to be read soon. Glad you liked it so much.