Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Life of Pi

This book has kept me captivated for the last couple of days. I don't remember "eating" a book that fast since "Invisible Monsters" by Chuck Palahniuk.

This is a novel written by Yann Martel. Story about a rather extraordinary Indian boy who lives in India in 1970s and is confused about huge gaps between religions saying that he just wants to love God and therefore being Hindu by birth, he decides to be baptized as a Christian and to become Muslim as well. By the initiative of his uncle he was named after the greatest swimming pool in Paris - Piscine Molitor Patel which gives him a lot of trouble at school while he decides to put an end to the mockery by becoming Pi (mathematical π - 3,14) thus making a statement that he is no longer an object of ridicule and that he can stand for himself. He lives in a loving family, his dad is a director and an owner of the local zoo which adds a very unusual and magical touch to Pi's life as their house is situated in the territory of the zoo and they basically live side by side with all the other inhabitants of the zoo.

One day his parents decide to leave India and move to Canada. They sell all the animals to several zoos in America and take a cargo ship to travel overseas together. One night the cargo ship sinks leaving Pi on the life-boat in a company of several cohabitants of his father's zoo - zebra, hyena, orangutan and a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. And this is where beyond the possible begins. The fight for survival, physical and mental, putting to the test what humanity is as such. But the real turning point of the story is the last chapter. After reading it I wanted to reread the whole book again because it would give me another perspective on the story. Yes, perspective and which story to believe - that is also one of the main themes of this book. I do not wish to reveal more. Just to say that this was one of my greatest adventures in literature so far. This story is so multi-layered, existential and philosophical, with a very particular structure, language is very juicy and vivid, easily creating a visual form of the story in reader's imagination. It left me with very provoking and essential revelations to "digest".

 “I know what you want. You want a story that won’t surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won’t make you see higher or further or differently.”

Ang Lee is shooting a movie based on this novel which will have its' US premier in December 2012. But knowing that good books very seldom become as good movies even if it is Ang Lee I would still recommend to read the book :)

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