Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Life of Pi

Title: Life of Pi

Author: Yann Martel

Number of pages: 319

Started: 28 October 2010

Finished: 2 November 2010

Opening words:

This book was born as I was hungry. Let me explain. In the spring of 1996, my second book, a novel, came out in Canada. It didn’t fare well. Reviewers were puzzled, or damned it with faint praise. Then readers ignored it.
Despite my best efforts at playing the clown or the trapeze artist, the media circus made no difference. The book did not move. Books lined the shelves of bookstores like kids standing in a row to play baseball or soccer, and mine was the gangly, unathletic kid that no one wanted on their team. It vanished quickly and quietly.

The fiasco did not affect me too much. I had already moved on to another story, a novel set in Portugal in 1939. Only I was feeling restless. And I had a little money. So I flew to Bombay. This is not so illogical if you realize three things: that a stint in India will beat the restlessness out of any living creature; that a little money can go a long way there; and that a novel set in Portugal in 1939 may have very little to do with Portugal in 1939.

You seem to be able to read the whole book here or get a PDF here

Plot summary:

After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orangutan - and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

What I thought:

I took a few pages to warm to this book, but once I got going with it, I really enjoyed it. There were even a few parts of it where I wanted to laugh out loud (but due to being on the tube, I resisted the urge). It was a book in three parts and started in India, then moved on to a raft in the Indian Ocean and then land again. It was an interesting concept – being lost at sea with only a tiger for company – and it was a very readable book.

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