Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

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3 stars

 You can draw the painting of your own life, because it’s yours – and then it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. It’s what you chose to believe.


“Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker”.
“Life of Pi” tells of the story of the main character, Pi (Piscine Molitor Patel), and his mature thoughts about life, religion, cultures, beliefs and human-kind as an interesting and changeable object. We hear of the family’s zoo in India, his thoughts about religion and the question of which one to choose? Then why not pick several elements from several religions. It starts with an introduction about the character and his life in the family zoo with the different and fascinating animals and then afterwards his time in Canada – and as a reader, you are desperately waiting to hear what happens in between; the time on the stranded boat in the Pacific Ocean. Alone, with a Bengal Tiger, whose name is Richard Parker.

I would say that it is a modern Robinson Crusoe tale – about a man’s battle against nature and a quest for survival. The time on the stranded boat takes its time (symbolizing the character’s hopeless situation while waiting for being rescued). Like Robinson Crusoe, there are many descriptions and focus on actions, but unlike Robinson Crusoe, there is an obvious focus on man and his self-realization.

“You might think I lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result I perked up and felt much better.”

The story is beautiful and very visual with amazing descriptions of sea life and there is always a danger around the corner, no matter if it is starvation, the Bengal Tiger, sharks in the water or another storm that will crash the boat.

“Life of Pi” shows human-kind from the best and worst sides and the fact that humans and animals are closer than expected. It is a quirky and interesting telling of how to explore, experience and appreciate life.

“Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud…”

Being really inspired by William Blake, I enjoyed the classic symbolism: tiger vs. lamb = danger vs. human-kind; the threat of humanity and Christianity. It’s funny that it was shown in the story in this way.
I liked the fact that even though we knew that he would survive, the story was still unpredictable. The story sets the mind going; how human-kind experiences the world and dealing with survival and unknown dangers.
It is the tale of a sad and traumatic experience turned into a fantastic epic – in order to cover up for what really happened. But again, it’s up the reader if you’re a realist or drawn towards the unbelievable story.
It’s about perspective – and choices.

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