Tiffany's Reviews > Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
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150648
's review
Oct 31, 10

bookshelves: 1001-books, nanoremo
Read from October 25 to 30, 2010

3.5 stars. I liked the story, but I didn't see this as the revelatory, life-changing book some others have. Still, good story (except for the icky parts; I found myself "EWWWWW!!!!!"ing out loud many times).

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"This book was born as I was hungry. Let me explain. In the spring of 1996, my second book, a novel, came out in Canada. It didn't fare well. Reviewers were puzzled, or damned it with faint praise. Then readers ignored it. Despite my best efforts at playing the clown or the trapeze artist, the media circus made no difference. The book did not move. Books lined the shelves of bookstores like kids standing in a row to play baseball or soccer, and mine was the gangly, unathletic kid that no one wanted on their team." (vii)

"If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams." (xii)

"a tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, it will hang a man nonetheless if he's not careful." (6)

"I'll be honest about it. It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation." (28)

"Christianity is a religion in a rush. Look at the world created in seven days. Even on a symbolic level, that's creation in a frenzy. To one born in a religion where the battle for a single soul can be a relay race run over many centuries, with innumerable generations passing along the baton, the quick resolution of Christianity has a dizzying effect. If Hinduism flows placidly like the Ganges, then Christianity bustles like Toronto at rush hour." (57)

"evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out." (71)

"I wonder--could you tell my jumbled story in exactly one hundred chapters, not one more, not one less? I'll tell you, that's one thing I hate about my nickname [Pi], the way that number runs on forever. It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go." (285)

"'Isn't telling about something--using words, English or Japanese--already something of an invention? Isn't just looking upon this world already something of an invention?'
'Uhh...'
'The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn't that make life a story?'" (302)

"'So tell me, since it makes no factual difference to you and you can't prove the question either way, which story do you prefer? Which is the better story, the story with animals or the story without animals?'" (317)
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Quotes Tiffany Liked

Yann Martel
“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always ... so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“When you've suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“If you stumble about believability, what are you living for? Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“I know zoos are no longer in people's good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures who people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It is like losing--I'm sorry, I would rather not go on.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“It's important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi

Yann Martel
“Christianity is a religion in a rush.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi


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10/27/2010 page 162
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