Life of Pi - Yann Martel

This novel tells the story of Pi (Piscine Molitor Patel) who grows up in Pondicherry, India. His father runs the towns zoo and he spends time observing the animals when he isn't in school. His other main interest is in religion and he starts life as a Hindu before converting to Christianity and then Islam. Unusally and to the disappointment of the local priests, he does not denounce his previosus religions and prefers to follow all three and observe all of their religious practices.

His mother and father decide to emigrate to Canada and take their family with them. The animals are to be sold and those travelling to America are to go by boat with them on their trip. Something goes wrong with the boat and it sinks leaving only Pi in a small lifeboat along with a spotted hyena, zebra, orang-utan and Royal Bengal Tiger. The rest of the book looks at life aboard the boat, the struggle for survival against all the odds and the relationships between its survivors.

I really enjoyed this book. The story was engaging and I loved the talk about the animals and religion at the beginning. The story while Pi is at sea was also really well told. It was very detailed and it was like you were there watching him and going through the journey with him. My only problem with this book was the last section. I don't want to go into it to too much detail so as to spoil it for others, but it changed the focus of the story considerably and made it much more ambiguous. I think I preferred it being the way it was before. If you have read it feel free to comment with your opinions on the ending...

9 comments:

    Oh, the ending! I've been in discussions with people who all have different opinions on the ending. I personally loved it, and thought it mad so much sense, but it made me want to reread it. It was the Island, with the teeth thing, where I thought things got weird.

    The weird algae island was the start of this book's downfall, in my opinion, and I disliked the ending. I also wished that Martel would have mixed in more tales about the main character as an older man at the end of the story. The premise of the book was fabulous - I loved the tiger. But, it ended with a big kerplop for me.

    I'm with raidergirl on this one, I thought the ending was superb. Very thought provoking and extremely relevant to the earlier talk of religion.

    This one is one my list. I'm really curious about it now. I'll have to move it higher on the list.

    The ending, to me, was frustrating. Like a movie where they don't know how to end it, and they decide it's all been a dream. That means lazy to me. But this author didn't seem in the least bit lazy, so it really threw me off.

    A friend and I had a great discussion about this book and had completely different ideas about what actually happened. I thought the ending was wonderful. It was written so that we each had perfect justification for our own views. (grin) Loved it!

    But it wasn't a dream Jules. He created Richard Parker and the man eating island to try to cope with the horrifying conditions on the lifeboat. It's an analogy for why religion is important to certain people.

    Yes but he didn't invent Richard Parker as somewhere near the beginning he shows the author pictures of him (it doesn't say if he is a tiger or man though). Personally I thought the ending was a let down.

    My take on the island was it was him disappearing into madness or his guilt eating him inside if it was an anaolgy.

    Oh, the island! I was completely shocked when I came to that part of the book, and for most of the rest of it. But I also think the island was crucial to his overarching themes of the book, like you said kookiejar. I really enjoyed the ending, although the satisfaction took awhile to sink in. My first reaction was, what the???