Life of Pi by Yann MartelIt is not so much that The Life of Pi, is particularly moving (although it is). It isn’t even so much that it is written with language that is both delicate and sturdy all at once (which it is, as well). And it’s certainly not that Yann Martel’s vision filled passages are so precise that you begin to feel the salt water on your skin (even though they are). It is that, like Bohjalian and Byatt and all of the great Houdini’s of the literary world, in the last few moments of your journey – after you’ve felt the emotions, endured the moments of heartache, yearned for the resolution of the characters’ struggle – that you realize the book is not what you thought it was. The story transforms, instantly, and forever.
And in those last few chapters, you suddenly realize that the moral has changed as well.
You feel Martel’s words lingering, suggesting, and you find yourself wondering whether you are his atheist who takes the deathbed leap of faith – hoping for white light and love? Or the agnostic who , in trying to stay true to his reasonable self, explains the mysteries of life and death in only scientific terms, lacking imagination to the end, and, essentially, missing the better story?
There is no use in trying to provide a brief synopsis for this ravishing tale of a young boy from India left adrift in the Pacific in a lifeboat with a tiger who used to reside in his father’s zoo in Pondicherry. There is no use because once you finish the book you might decide that this was not, indeed, what the book was about at all. There is no use because, depending on your philosophical bent, the book will mean something very different to your best friend than it will to you. There is no use because it is nearly impossible to describe what makes this book so grand.
Read this book. Not because it is an exceptional piece of literary talent. It is, of course. But there are many good authors and many good books. While uncommon, they are not endangered. Read this book because in recent memory - aside from Jose Saramago’s arresting Blindness – there have been no stories which make such grand statements with such few elements. As Pi says in his story “Life on a lifeboat isn’t much of a life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements couldn’t be more simple, nor the stakes higher.” It is the same with Martel’s undulating fable of a book about a boy in a boat with a tiger. A simple story with potentially life altering consequences for it’s readers.
As Martel writes, The world isnt just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Like Schroedingers cat in the box, the way this book is understood, the way it is perceived affects what it is. There has been some talk that this book will make it’s readers believe in god. I think it’s a question of perspective. To behold this gem of a novel as an adventure of man against the elements (the “dry, yeastless factuality” of what actually happened) is certainly one way to go about it. But to understand this piece to be something indescribable, something godlike, is by far the greater leap of faith.
Oh, but worth the leap, if the reader is like that atheist, willing to see the better story.
Literature and literary criticism , Fiction , Novels. Doubtless, people will choose to read it insofar as they can tolerate this premise. And the reduction of the novel to its magic realist challenge would not be unfair, since the book is constituted of little other than this singular story, and moreover is explicitly — that is to say, theoretically — about the inevitability of the magical in storytelling. Of course, in a proper paradox, this magical story is made plausible, and vivid and dramatic, only by the careful application of conventional realist techniques. If we do indeed come to believe this story of survival, if we hardly ever feel that our credulity is being taken for a reckless voyage, it is because Martel patiently builds his narrative case: ensuring that no detail is too tiny for examination; quietly folding in a vast amount of research largely zoological and botanical ; taking care to observe the laws of physics and the natural world; and generally grounding his watery tale in the loam of the likely. He reminds us in fact that realism is already magical, an artifice-in-waiting. The novel prepares its plausibility by solidly introducing its protagonist and narrator, Pi Patel.
It sounds suspiciously like the setup of a joke, something you might hear at a tavern from the guy who's been downing gimlets all night. But ''Life of Pi,'' the Canadian writer Yann Martel's extraordinary novel based on this very premise, is hardly your average barroom gag. Granted, it may not qualify as ''a story that will make you believe in God,'' as one character describes it. But it could renew your faith in the ability of novelists to invest even the most outrageous scenario with plausible life -- although sticklers for literal realism, poor souls, will find much to carp at. For one thing, the Hindu, the Muslim and the Christian are all the same person -- Pi Patel, an amiable Indian teenager who sees no reason why he can't practice three religions at once. He's also something of an expert on animal behavior.
Justine Jordan is charmed by a zoological oddity in Life of Pi by Yann Martel. in the first part of the book, which describes Pi's sunny childhood in the The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from.
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In the author's note that prefaces this vertiginously tall tale, Yann Martel blends fact and fiction with wily charm. Yes, he'd published two books that failed to shake the world - eager, studious-young-man's fiction with a strain of self-conscious experimentalism - and taken off to India nursing the faltering seeds of another. But no, he didn't there meet a wise old man who directed him to a putative "main character", now living back in Martel's native Toronto: a certain Piscine Molitor or Pi Patel, named for a French swimming pool and nicknamed for an irrational number, who in the mids survived days lost at sea with a Royal Bengal tiger. Despite the extraordinary premise and literary playfulness, one reads Life of Pi not so much as an allegory or magical-realist fable, but as an edge-of-seat adventure. When the ship in which year-old Pi and his zookeeping family are to emigrate from India to Canada sinks, leaving him the sole human survivor in a lifeboat on to which barge a zebra, a hyena, an orang-utan and a bedraggled, seasick tiger, Pi is determined to survive the impossible. The amazing will be seen every day.