Ryan's Reviews > Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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Jun 02, 09

Read in June, 2009

This is a great summer book. It isn't for the squeamish, as some of the descriptions are rather graphic, but it is a wonderful work of fantasy-fiction. It is so well-written, in fact, that at times I honestly believed I was reading about true events.

The story centers around Pi (short for Piscine) Patel, a young Indian boy whose father is a zookeeper. Because of some political happenings in India, the Patels decide to sell their animals and relocate to Canada. With many of their animals, they board a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. The adventure in this book begins when the ship sinks and Pi is left on a lifeboat with only a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a tiger. The bulk of the book describes the adventure at sea.

There are a lot of interesting discussions that come out of this book. The author clearly wants the reader to consider both the role/importance of story and the place of religion. I won't say much more about the first of these, to avoid a bit of a spoiler, but regarding religion, our protagonist "converts" to be a Muslim and a Christian, in addition to a Hindu, as a young boy. Because the boy's main desire is "to love God," the author makes him very sympathetic and it is only hardened, secular adults who want to make him choose.

I highly recommend this book. Don't enter the last 100 pages late at night, because you'll be tired the next day!
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