Cheap Life of Pi (Book) (Yann Martel) Price
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| AUTHOR: || Yann Martel |
| CATEGORY: || Book |
| MANUFACTURER: || Harvest Books |
| ISBN: || 0156027321 |
| TYPE: || Action & Adventure, Fiction, Fiction - General, Literary, Psychological, Fiction / General, Reading Group Guide |
| MEDIA: || Paperback |
| # OF MEDIA: || 1 |
Customer Review of Life of Pi
A truly remarkable tale
Good storytelling in this age is quite rare. Rarer still is an engaging story with a sustaining set of characters to draw you in and teach you about what it means to be a human being. There is plenty of plot summary elsewhere to give you a sense of what the book is about. What you won't know until you read it is how deceptively simplistic those synopses are. Long ago, I actually decided not to read the book after reading such a summary. What a mistake!
"Life of Pi" is without a doubt the best work of contemporary fiction I've read since "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay". The story's elements are simple and straightforward, but the author's voice is charming, intelligent and insightful. What I found so remarkable about a book advertised for it's "inventiveness" is the degree of realism. In many ways, Martel's style reminds me of the great "magical realists" like Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Pi's fascination with religions and his attention to the detailed inner workings of zoo management are illuminating. Never before has such an eloquent case been made for the civility of a zoo (I suppose it would take a zoo run by a vegetarian family to make such a place civil).
Naturally, the story really finds its legs once Pi is stranded at sea with wounded animals. It is a testament to the author's abilities that 227 days on the ocean can be filled with such immediacy and interest. Pi's journey is a story of resilience and determination...a desire to go on living when there is seemingly no point in doing so. Throughout it all, Pi suffers with dignity and pride, engaging his plight head-on, digging in his heels and sticking it out until the end. What's staggering is how lively and redemptive such an experience can be. This book is funny, informative and surprisingly fast-paced given the fact that the narrator is adrift at sea.
Engaging and Multi-faceted
Life of Pi has one of the strangest beginnings that I have ever read. The narrator gives us many small and random facts about zoology, then proceeds to detail his interest in Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, and how he practices all three religions at the same time. Not exactly gripping writing, or similar to the survival story described on the back jacket. But, near page 100, Life of Pi abruptly transitions. Our hero, Pi, leaves India with his family and their zoo animals, (his family runs a zoo) on a cargo ship bound for a new life in Canada. But, the cargo ship soon sinks and Pi is left on a life raft with a tiger. Now, the real book begins. Pi must survive on a small life raft with a massive tiger. The meat of the novel is Pi explaining his activities while on the high seas. But, as the novel continues, his exploits change from the normal, collecting water when it rains; to the hard to believe, going blind and meeting fellow survivors. Predictably, Pi survives, and the author's purpose of writing the novel becomes clear when he is interrogated. Life of Pi can be read two ways, as a exciting survival story with a bad beginning; or as an allegory for the two different ways in which events can play out, the reader not knowing which way actually happened, and which way was fantasy. Because of the questions it raises, Life of Pi would be an excellent discussion book for a book club, however, it is enjoyable when read alone as well.
A deeper look
Life of Pi was a wonderful book, with notes of philosophy and theological thought tied into a well crafted story. While it may start with a slightly slower pace than other books in the genre, it is worth the effort. If you liked this, I would also recommend Golf in the Kingdom.
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