These men were tough! Made me want to hop on a sailboat and test my own limits. I think it appeals to the adventurous spirit in every reader. It was aThese men were tough! Made me want to hop on a sailboat and test my own limits. I think it appeals to the adventurous spirit in every reader. It was a fascinating read that reminded me of my days on the sea in the Navy. Great detail, engaging language. ...more
**spoiler alert** Like other books that I discover when I find a new movie or TV show, I decided to read this book before watching the Amazon Prime se**spoiler alert** Like other books that I discover when I find a new movie or TV show, I decided to read this book before watching the Amazon Prime series. As I understand from a few other reviewers - the show has nothing to do with the plot or many of the characters of the book.This book is about Fascism, and totalitarianism. I believe it's a "what if" sort of story - that in some ways is as important in 2015 as it was in 1962. I was unfamiliar with Phillip K. Dick before researching this book. I believe this is a "protest" book that forces the reader to contemplate their personal situation in life.
I did a lot of Wikipedia searching as a read this book. It was important to me to keep my frame of reference throughout. The book was published in 1962-America is in the start-up of the major throes of the Cold War. We didn't yet have the Cuban Missile Crisis - and everything I think about the 1960s (Kennedy assassination, Vietnam War build-up, the Beatles, counter-culture) hadn't happened yet. (I was born in 1969 - so I didn't experience any of these things personally, but have come to know them through reading). In fact - the end of WWII was only 17 years before the publish date. There are a lot of references to the Hitler's leaders throughout the book. As I discovered on Wikipedia - most of the references are accurate - but for a contemporary (2015) audience - the details of these characters have subsided into history - only their names were familiar to me.
The plot is pretty straightforward - we lost WWII. Germany and Japan prevailed, and the USA as we know it today (or would have known it at publish date of 1962) didn't happen.
So - what does all this mean? The book was a tough read for me. I'm not a student of ancient Eastern religion - so I hadn't known about the "I Ching" - yet that seems to be one of, if not the central, organizing principles of the book. There are a lot of characters - they are well-developed and interesting. Reading the book in 2015 - I find that it is maybe a pre-cursor to the turbulent decade that was the 1960s. I wonder if it's contemporary readers felt the strains of protest and upheaval that I did? I don't think I understood the conclusion. I want a book group or group of friends who have read this book to tell me what they think this meant. I didn't get it - especially when it's revealed in the final chapter that Germany and Japan DID lose the war! Anyone want to help me understand?...more
**spoiler alert** Pi Patel is an Indian teenager who survives a horrific ordeal at sea after the ship he is traveling on sinks. The story is a "story**spoiler alert** Pi Patel is an Indian teenager who survives a horrific ordeal at sea after the ship he is traveling on sinks. The story is a "story within a story within a story" - which was a bit confusing at the beginning (is it being reported as "fact" or is the whole thing fiction?). Like all of my "movie books" shelf - I read the book because the movie looked interesting, and I wanted to read the book first. Unfortunately, even seeing just a movie trailer is enough to taint your perceptions of the novel.
Throughout the novel there is a lot of symbolism about religion, animals / zoology and endurance in life-threatening events. The story is told by Pi, even the author interviews him much later in life - so we know at the beginning that Pi survives the ordeal and goes on to live in Canada and even raise a family- we just don't know the details. There were times in the first third of the book that I wasn't sure if / when the story was ever going to "take off" - a lot of background / build-up regarding three religions (Hinduism, Islam and Christianity) - plus a lot of about India and zoology.
The main part of the book follows the ordeal in the lifeboat - which Pi eventually shares with Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger. It was my favorite part of the book, and reads like a good adventure story - with lots of unbelievable events written in an exciting and very descriptive style. There are parts which may make many readers squeamish - a lot of grim situations and details about what one must do in a survival situation. Lots of symbols - what is the mysterious algae island? A metaphor for the Garden of Eden? What's with the meerkats - do they represent the multitude of religious "followers"?
Finally Pi and Richard Parker land in Mexico. Richard Parker disappears into the jungle, and Pi is nursed back to health in a Mexican hospital. Two men from the Japanese Ministry of Transport arrive in the hospital to interview Pi about the final events on the ship (a Japanese cargo ship). This third part of the book reveals an entirely different "story" regarding what may have actually happened in the lifeboat. There are many parallels between the two versions (zebra = sailor, hyena = cook, Orange Juice the orangutan = Pi's mother, Richard Parker = Pi). Ultimately the reader is left to decide which version of the story you'd like to believe. Overall, a very enjoyable and though-provoking book! ...more
I discovered this book series while searching for an alternative to "the Hunger Games". (I read it aloud to my 7 and 9 year olds). A great story that I discovered this book series while searching for an alternative to "the Hunger Games". (I read it aloud to my 7 and 9 year olds). A great story that drew all of us in. Got weirdly upset over the death of an insect. Great characters, imaginative details and descriptive settings. Two year old "Boots" adds just enough fun to balance out the scary parts (for younger readers)....more