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Archive for October 2012

Name : Life of Pi
 
Author:  Yann Martel
 
Genre : Fiction
 
Pages : 356
 
Language: English
 
Publication Year: 2001
 
Is Review Spoiler: No
 
Awards :  Man Booker Prize for Fiction
 
Rating: 4/5

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Life of Pi is Man Booker Prize winner for Fiction(2001) and Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (2001-2003) written by Yann Martel. Before being accepted by Knopf Canada, which published it in September 2001, this novel was rejected by at least five London publishing houses.

Life of Pi is divided into three parts: first part telling a story of Piscene Molitor Patel and his quest for understanding the God through three religions – Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. The second part: deals with how Pi survives a shipwreck and survives for 227 days in a lifeboat which is shared a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, an injured zebra, a hyena, and a female orangutan. The third part: of the story is a dialog between two representatives of the Japanese Ministry of Transport searching for the cause of the sinking ship and Pi and how they express disbelief in his survival story and how Pi tells them another more believable story.

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional–but is it more true?

Let me tell you – what Life of Pi is not, this is not a survival in the wild tale like CAST AWAY, this is not a MAN VS WILD story, this is not a  ‘survival of the fittest’ story if it would have been then Tiger would have been the only survivor and died eventually due to hunger,  this is not a guide for ‘how to survive the shipwreck’.

This is a story about the hope, about the will to survive. It is an allegory or a symbolic expression of a deeper meaning through a story acted by sole survivor Pi and few zoo animals. Yann Martel in this beautiful tale tells us about human will to survive in the worst circumstances and how our mind reject to believe somethings which don’t actually fit our own explanations of things which we thought are true, for example in the last part of the book, when Pi narrates his story to two representatives of the Japanese Ministry of Transport, they express disbelief in his story because it doesn’t go according to their perception of the story [what they thought would have happened]. So Pi tells them more believable story which fits – what they thought would have happened and tells them to choose between two stories.

As Yann Martel has said in one interview, “The theme of this novel can be summarized in three lines. Life is a story. You can choose your story. And a story with an imaginative overlay is the better story.” And for Martel, the greatest imaginative overlay is religion. “God is a shorthand for anything that is beyond the material — any greater pattern of meaning.” In Life of Pi, the question of stories, and of what stories to believe, is front and centre from the beginning, when the author tells us how he was led to Pi Patel and to this novel: in an Indian coffee-house, a gentleman told him, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.” And as this novel comes to its brilliant conclusion, Pi shows us that the story with the imaginative overlay is also the story that contains the most truth.

Though it’s kind of boring in the middle due to too much explanations of the things like interior of the ship, how to fish, how to kill a fish, how to kill a turtle etc apart from these parts this book is really readable. If you haven’t read it yet, go ahead and pick it up.

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Name : Second Foundation
 
Author:  Isaac Asimov
 
Genre : Science fiction novel
 
Pages : 210
 
Language: English
 
Publication Year: 1953
 
Is Review Spoiler: No
 
Awards :  
 
Rating: 5/5

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  1. Book 1 : Foundation – Review
  2. Book 2 : Foundation and Empire – Review

Does second foundation really exists? if so, where exactly they are located? what’s the rule second foundation is playing in Seldon’s plan?

In the third volume of original foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov come to close in this ambitious finale. This book is divided into two parts titled “Search by Mule” and “Search by Foundation” each parts mainly focused on the search of mysteries second foundation whose whereabouts no one knows.

If you have read the first two books (The Foundation and The Foundation and Empire), then most of you already know about the Hari Seldon and his plan to save the future. For those who haven’t read the previous two books – here is brief intro of Seldon’n plan:

“Hari Seldon the great mathematician has foreseen the end of galactic empire by using the mathematics known as psycho-history, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mas action – psycho-history can predict the future but only on a large-scale. It works on the principle that the behavior of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy, which has a population of quadrillion of humans, inhabiting millions of star systems). The larger the number, the more predictable is the future. So he establish two foundations each at different end of galaxy to minimize the barbaric period expected to follow the demise of empire from 30,000 years to 1,000 years and to establish the second empire.”

The first part of the book – Search by Mule – deals with the search for second foundation by Mule who uses his emotion controlling power to search for second foundation. This part is very tightly plotted and has many twist and turns which will keep you glued to the book until you finish it.

The second part of the book – Search by Foundation – takes place sixty years after the first part. In this part few people from first foundation suspects that second foundation is controlling the key members of first foundation and using them for fulfilling their purposes. So they form a small group – named Conspirators’ – and resolve to find the second foundation which many believe doesn’t exists at all. In terms of tightness of plot it’s much better than first part.

The only thing which I think could have been better is character development, there is not much in all three foundation novels in terms of character developments.

The best part of this trilogy compare to others is – all three books – in this trilogy are totally different and merely linked with each other. What I mean by this is each book and each part follows its own agenda. Like the first book which mainly focused on establishment of Foundation to save the future society after the collapse of galactic empire. The second book has its own agenda – in which foundation has to face dying galactic empire and mutant named Mule – who is all set to destroy Seldon’s plan. And this book – is focused on search for second foundation by two different groups – first by Mule and his company and second by ‘first foundation’ – who thinks that they are controlled by second foundation and don’t like that idea at all and set to find the truth behind  all this.

Overall, all books in trilogy are must read for all science-fiction fans. If you haven’t read it yet, then you are missing something great.


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