Tiffany’s review of Life of Pi > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Jane (new)

Jane I can't thank you enough, Tiffany! I got incredibly bored with the CD version and returned it to the library, only to have my S/O wonder what had happened to Pi and the tiger! Thanks for letting me know -- and sharing that I'm not the only one who detested this book.

message 2: by Jerometed (new)

Jerometed You might actually think this book is really good if you look at it as a sort of tear-jerker, except with tears its religion.

message 3: by Cobardon (last edited Apr 11, 2009 02:09PM) (new)

Cobardon You've completely got the moral of the book wrong, by your own ridiculous lack of logic.

Try reading with an open mind sometime.

As an atheist it made me question the hard time I often give people of faith, and remind me how beautiful true faith can be and that it really can help people to accomplish things that seem impossible.
It also reminded me how important faith can be at helping humans survive the unsurvivable, at helping us keep going when all rational prospects are crushed.

Thanks then, for reminding me that the religious can be blinkered, small minded and petty.

message 4: by Marty (new)

Marty amen Cobardon

message 5: by trivialchemy (new)

trivialchemy amen Cobardon.

I've never seen such an absurd, reductionist reading of a book. Not every novel is didactic, folks. Not every symbol is a moral parable.

message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Doesn't this novel state explicitly that it is didactic? "he tells us that his story will lead us to have faith in God" - that's what he does as I recall.

message 7: by trivialchemy (new)

trivialchemy Pi says that, not Martel. If you believe Pi, you can believe Humbert Humbert as well.

Anyway, I think the reviewer's point here is that the novel's moral "lesson" is an atheist one. If Pi's declaration were aligned with Martel's intentions, that would actually be contradicting the bizarro-world interpretation in this review.

message 8: by Bibliomantic (last edited May 22, 2009 12:27PM) (new)

Bibliomantic The words are in the intro and are supposedly spoken to "Martel" by someone who may or may not be Pi. In the body of the novel itself religion takes a back seat to other matters, not least of which is survival. There are a couple of semi-mystical meditative passages on faith and the various icons, but nothing truly cerebral. Probably the longest strand on religious matters is the comic sequence of the competition between advocates of the three faiths Pi is exposed to as a child. It makes the religious man look somewhat ridiculous (and so I see the reviewer's point above) and therefore made Pi's momentary lapse into melancholic approval of faith right after landing on the lifeboat feel a bit out of place but not necessarily all that surprising. The concluding contrast between the story that takes up most of the narrative and the more likely animal-free version amounts to a final showdown between religion as collection of moral (or such) stories versus brutal reality, and in that sense again it makes religion out to be a useful but ultimately absurd construct. What exactly is the problem here? (I know, no need to go there, we haven't got a decade)
Suffice it to say that the novel could hardly have fallen more short of the goal of 'making you believe in god'. In the first place, I seriously doubt that was its intent anyway, and it would have been a difficult thing to accomplish even if that's what Martel had wanted to do.

message 9: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Yeah, that 'making you believe in god' was a hyge tease.

message 10: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Isaiah wrote: "amen Cobardon.

I've never seen such an absurd, reductionist reading of a book. Not every novel is didactic, folks. Not every symbol is a moral parable.

The great thing about literature is that there is no one right way to read it.

message 11: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Exactly what I got from it too! In my book club everyone chose to interpret the animal story as the true story, and just ignored the "and so it is with God" part. Nice to know I'm not alone in my analysis!

message 12: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence Ferro just for the record, meerkats only exists in SA.....
Pi's lifeboat were in the pacific all of seven months,
so there..........

message 13: by Ruth (new)

Ruth You know, I didn't take that from this book at all. If anything, I think Martel is advocating a belief in God as an essential part of human survival. He is saying that faith is a choice, and that choosing to believe the "better story" is akin to choosing to believe in a divine purpose rather than relying on dry, factual, uninspiring details to explain human existence.

There is a pretty obvious quote in the book that states that atheists are also taking a leap of faith, but simply choosing to believe in something else other than God. The atheist version of the story would be the raw, factual retelling. The faith-based version is inspiring, hopeful, and saves Pi's life. So which one was truer?

message 14: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant I never did get "choosing to believe" in something. You can't choose if you don't actually believe. So for instance I could not choose to believe the earth is flat. I could not choose to believe that Hitler was right. Etc. You could say "no one knows if God exists, therefore I choose to believe he does" but that's hardly the definition of religious faith. It's a passive opting for one explanation rather than another, like a tick on a questionnaire.

message 15: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Ruth wrote: "You know, I didn't take that from this book at all. If anything, I think Martel is advocating a belief in God as an essential part of human survival. He is saying that faith is a choice, and that c..."

I think that's an interesting reading as well. Thanks for the insight.

message 16: by Michealla (new)

Michealla I have to agree with the fact that it's a very long and dragging sort of book. The story itself, and the writing is good, but the first section of the book is just really boring.

message 17: by Ronald (new)

Ronald Anleu Wow, you really got it completely wrong, you couldn't have written a shallower interpretation of this novel.

message 18: by Bibliomantic (new)

Bibliomantic I never did get "choosing to believe" in something.

I think people often do choose that. Then they behave accordingly, follow rituals, fit events in their lives to their new scheme, and they end up believing (or falling out after a time).

message 19: by Lucy (new)

Lucy The Richard Parker version of the story wasn't "cleaned up" - it was the same story, essentially, with just as much violence and cruelty and despair as the second version. The only difference was that the Richard Parker version had been 'fable-ized', with natural figures becoming metaphorical stand-ins for characters and forces and human characteristics. The factual version tells you precisely what happened; the fable version distills the facts into symbolic representations that cut to the core meaning of the events. The book thereby contrasts literal with metaphorical truth.

Whether you read it as atheistic, agnostic, or theistic is up to interpretation, but your review reads to me like a knee-jerk offended reaction to what you percieved as an atheist point of view.

message 20: by Danny (new)

Danny To Lucy, Martel, in interviews, has specifically cautioned against reading the entire book as an allegory for the more "factual events." that said, my knee jerk reaction was similar to yours.

message 21: by Chris (new)

Chris I agree with Corbadon aswell

message 22: by Leigh (new)

Leigh Collazo Tiffany, thank you for such a well-thought out review! I personally loved this book, but I totally agree with you that Martel "proves" the opposite of what he set out to prove. I think all the different perspectives here and in other reviews is what makes this book so remarkable.

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