Life of Pi by Yann Martel

A book review of “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel

This book will challenge your imagination and tempt your curiosity. It actually had me searching to see if there was any truth in it, until I read the final few chapters, and I then understood.

It is an adventure similar to any castaway story you have heard, but completely different. Essentially, The protagonist, Pi, is an Indian boy who ends up alone on a life-boat with a Zebra, an Orang-utan, a Hyena and a Bengal Tiger for 227 days. No kidding.

The book is fairly slow to start, and one wonders what the story has to do about the Tiger, the Ocean, or anything in particular.

It begins with a large discourse by Pi on his childhood and family. And he spends considerable time on his self-discovery of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, all of which he embraces in his concept of God, much to the consternation of his family and each “wise man” who led him to each religion in the first place.

When he is 16, his family decides to leave India for Canada, and the adventure begins.

While personally I found the religious experience of Pi a bit unlikely, in trying to marry seemingly mutually exclusive religious ideas (here the author will no doubt chuckle and challenge me), I understand that that was his intention, and the exploration of imagination and creativity really makes this book.

Careful, you may find yourself rooting for Pi, loving Bengal tigers and getting lost for hours in a surreal world full of fantasy and imagination.

Get Life of Pi from Kalahari (SA) here
Get Life of Pi (Kindle or Paperback) from Amazon UK here
Get Life of Pi (any format) from Amazon.Com here

2 Comments

  • Rory says:

    Great review, Ray.
    I started reading this book a few years ago, but never finished it. Maybe I’ll give it another go. I guess you have to look at it purely as a fantasy novel, and not to try get life lessons out of it.

    • Ray says:

      Ja, you need to get past part 1 of the book. The adventure and life-lessons for me were in part 2 – on the ocean, which is the bulk of the book. I got quite frustrated until then! After that it is pretty hectic. And the ending keeps you guessing.

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