Life of Pi – Yann Martel

Jun 08

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

Yann Martel is the author of this gripping and beautiful tale.   The main character is teen Piscine Molitor Patel who lives in Pondicherry, India.  Pi transforms his name due to the constant taunting of his peers. (It is my belief, as a person who adores word play, that no name is “safe”.)   He is the son of a zoo keeper and a religious soul.  He is born a Hindu, discovers Jesus while on vacation, and becomes fascinated by Muslim practices.  This is confounding for his family.  His brother teases that he just needs to “convert to three more religions to be on holiday for the rest of your life.”  Through circumstances involving politics and economics, the family decides to relocate to Canada.  The ship carrying Pi and his family ends up sinking in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.   Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with some exotic friends.  There are some pretty horrifying scenes of survival (i.e., an animal being eaten alive from the inside out.)  Pi struggles with the things he sees, the things he loses, and the constant internal battle between hope and fear.  “I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life.” Pi’s resourcefulness, bravery, and faith take him far beyond normal human limits.  Pi also vacillates between boredom and terror.  I also fell a little bit in love with Richard Parker, the other main character in the story.  Ang Lee did a marvelous directing job translating the book to film.  I thought it was far less violent than the book, but beautifully adapted and still full of tension.  I am not a SPOILER, I would love to discuss the ending with anyone who has seen the movie or read the book.  Pretty sure I have it all figured out.

Side note: Summer has begun!  Feel free to leave a comment or email your must-read book selections.

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