Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Life of Pi

This entry has nothing to do with the theme of my blog. I just wanted to share something...

Remember this?

Well, I finished it. I DEVOURED it. That book grabbed me and held on and I held onto it in return, reading excitedly to find out what would happen next yet not wanting the adventure to end. The thing that scares me, indeed, scares me about the novel is that perhaps I didn't fully get it...

Pi is a young and curious Indian boy who takes to spirituality and wants to practice Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. He lives in India with his family and spends a lot of time at the Pondicherry Zoo, of which his dad is the zookeeper. The family decides to move to Canada due to political unrest, and many of the zoo animals go with them. While in route aboard a Japanese cargo ship, the ship sinks, and Pi is the only human survivor. The other survivors involve a zebra, hyena, orangutan, and a bengal tiger named Richard Parker, and they ALL end up on a lifeboat together. After a couple of days, all are gone except for Pi and Richard Parker, and they manage to survive together on a journey that lasted 227 days at which point they land in Mexico and are saved (Pi is rescued by humans and Richard Parker runs off never to be seen again).

This is where it gets complicated. You think you know the whole story, and then it turns on you. It's like you think you know a race course, and then you turn the corner and you've got a mile of hills to tackle that you didn't know about before. In explaining his journey to two Japanese men, they didn't believe his story about the animals, so Pi changes it. The zebra, the hyena, and the orangutan become a sailor, a cook, and Pi's mother, and Pi himself becomes Richard Parker. What really happened? I don't know. You'll have to read it and see if you get it.

One thing that I love about this book is that it's so quotable. Yann Martel is like a chef with his words - he comes up with the most wonderful concoctions.

"Life will defend itself, no matter how small it is."

"What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell. ... It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse."

"If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn't love hard to believe? ... Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer."

That's only a minute selection of what Yann Martel and Life of Pi has to offer. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone!


  1. That does sound interesting! I just added it to my "to read" list since that is my goal for this year, to read more :)