Thursday, January 17, 2008

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Rating: 7/10

Published: 2002
Number of pages: 319

Started: 8 January 2008
Finished: 17 January 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger and Pi - a 16-year-old Indian boy. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary pieces of literary fiction of recent years.

Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God. Can a reader reasonably ask for anything more?

***Warning! Spoilers!***
I thought Life of Pi was a pretty entertaining read, but there was nothing that really knocked my socks off or that will stand in my memory for a long time (other than a few slightly gruesome scenes).

There was quite a bit of background story leading up to the lifeboat section, which got a little tiresome, but mostly I found Pi's comments on animals and religion to be quite interesting, even if I didn't completely agree with what he was saying. Like others have said before me, the whole island part was most puzzling - it seemed very out of place! (Although probably not as out-of-place as the short incident with the Frenchman that preceded it!)

I know the ending has come as a disappointment to some people but luckily I knew beforehand how it would end so I wasn't disappointed. Highlight to view spoiler: Which story do I believe? Well, of course we'd all like to believe the version with the animals, but I'm inclined to think his second story was true. If you had spent 227 days at sea, it would certainly give you ample time to think up a story to explain away your actions (which in other circumstances would be atrocious), and perhaps it would also help you to maintain your sanity.

Perhaps I enjoyed it more than some people because I didn't try to read too much into it and find symbolism everywhere. I took it at face value and enjoyed it as a good story, well told.


sonjica said...

A friend of mine and I couldn't agree which part of the story was more implausible (the French cook or the island) and we couldn't agree on it.. I quite agree with you when you say that it didn't really knock your socks but that it indeed was an interesting read.. My favorite part of the book was the third one - i found it rather amusing.. As a matter of fact, I was laughing out loud, which is something I don't normally do when I'm reading a book.

Kylie said...

Thanks for your comments sonjica! Yes, I found the third part to be pretty amusing too :) Your blog looks really interesting; I might have to make a list of the shops and do a tour of bookshops in Europe one day! Sounds like a perfect holiday!