Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Life of Pi - Yann Martel

Rating : 4.5/5
Reason for Reading : Recommendation, Book Awards Reading Challenge

This novel tells the story of Pi (Piscine Molitor Patel) who grows up in Pondicherry, India. His father runs the towns zoo and he spends time observing the animals when he isn't in school. His other main interest is in religion and he starts life as a Hindu before converting to Christianity and then Islam. Unusally and to the disappointment of the local priests, he does not denounce his previosus religions and prefers to follow all three and observe all of their religious practices.

His mother and father decide to emigrate to Canada and take their family with them. The animals are to be sold and those travelling to America are to go by boat with them on their trip. Something goes wrong with the boat and it sinks leaving only Pi in a small lifeboat along with a spotted hyena, zebra, orang-utan and Royal Bengal Tiger. The rest of the book looks at life aboard the boat, the struggle for survival against all the odds and the relationships between its survivors.

I really enjoyed this book. The story was engaging and I loved the talk about the animals and religion at the beginning. The story while Pi is at sea was also really well told. It was very detailed and it was like you were there watching him and going through the journey with him. My only problem with this book was the last section. I don't want to go into it to too much detail so as to spoil it for others, but it changed the focus of the story considerably and made it much more ambiguous. I think I preferred it being the way it was before. If you have read it feel free to comment with your opinions on the ending...


chrisa511 said...

This book sounds really cool! I'm really familiar with the title, but I had no idea what it was about. Now I do! And I'm putting it on my TBR list. I love books with any kind of religion as a central theme. They always interest me. I'm thinking that maybe I should've signed up for the complete Booker challenge instead of the complete Pulitzer challenge. The Booker books seem to appeal to me more, though there are quite a few on the Pulitzer list that I've been wanting to read.

Ana S. said...

Like Chris, I'd heard the title of this book countless times, but always in a vague sort of way - nobody had ever said what it actually was about.

I will probably read this one some day.

Alice said...

Hello! I'm glad you like the book. I read it some time in May 2007 and I commented about it here. I've enjoyed it lots. :)

soleil said...

i read this book a couple of summers ago. i loved it. it made me crave indian food. i know what you mean about the ending. i chose to believe that the story was true and he really was with the animals. i think given his background with the zoo and his knowledge of animals that the premise could be plausible.
i really liked the part where he visited the mystery island. i found it fascinating.

Dewey said...

Just got this from the library!