"Life of Pi" by Yann Martel


"The Life of Pi' struck me as a book-length parable - what does the stranded mariner do to save his life when he shares a flimsy vessel with a Bengal tiger? The reader and the Japanese authorities are given the choice of buying into the parabolic parable version or the more orthodox version.
Pi is a believer in each major religion, each of which has within it the seeds of its destruction, or at least the grand antagonist which lends each faith the sense of urgency. The fanciful version of Pi's adventure and rescue is really the vivid, compelling one, and it's the one that contains the most effective lessons.

This book is overly unorthodox - not a bad thing, I love to be taken out of the mundane. But its setup and resolution, and the minutiae of its long ordeal, left me puzzled about the real intent. I'm tempted to equate the hero with the human race sailing on dangerous seas, but that just seems too facile, a selling-short of Martel. If the intent lay elsewhere, then I couldn't find it, not that I was motivated very strongly. Praise for this book is appropriate, but the over-the-top praise heaped upon it is not. If you're worried that you are missing something very special by not reading this book, don't be. It's an unusual journey with parable-like overtones. Choose accordingly.
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