Sunday, August 03, 2008

Books: Life of Pi


"Life of Pi" is a novel written by Yann Martel. In the book, Pi Patel, an unfortunate Indian youth, is stranded in a lifeboat after his vessel's sudden sinking. His only companion is Richard Parker, he's in the middle of the Pacific, and supplies are running low. The big problem with the situation, though, is that Richard Parker is a 450-pound Bengal tiger.

It's an interesting adventure book mostly centered on Pi's relentless struggle for survival, but there's some fairly prominent religious themes here, too. One of the characters says that Pi's ordeal would make you believe in God. I'm not sure that's true, but the book definitely makes a strong case for agnostics to get off the fence, if only to get "a better story" out of life.

I liked it overall, but I think the book's main failing is a common one with these marooned/castaway stories: there's barely any semblance of a plot. The great wide ocean and the lengthy nature of Pi's journey (spoiler - he ain't rescued an hour after the shipwreck) are sort of a license for lazy plotting. I suppose this might be intentional, but it still would make it hard to reread in the future.

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