LiVe YoUr DrEaM…

Life of Pi

Posted on: October 15, 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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