Thursday, July 26, 2012

Life of Pi - Yann Martel

Rockdale Reader Book Group selection for July 2011

About the Book
The Life of Pi is about Piscine Molitor Patel. An Indian boy who grows up in a zoo in the town of  Pondicherry. When he is 16 his parents decide to give up the zoo and move to Canada. The animals are sold to other zoos around the world and Pi's family travel on the cargo ship with some of them. One night there is an explosion and the ship sinks. Pi gets thrown into a life boat and is followed soon after by a zebra, Richard Parker, a spotted hyena and an orangatan. Soon there is only Pi & Richard Parker.
They spend 227 days at sea before reaching Mexico. While at sea, Pi struggles to maintain dominence to stay alive. Once they reach Mexico, Pi is interrogated by 2 men sent by the Japanese owners of the ship company seeking answers as to why the ship sank.

My ThoughtsIt is very hard to read a book that is so well know. The story everyone knows about The Life of Pi doesn't really start until a third of the way through and so I was reading about the zoo thinking where is the boat?
Where is the tiger? Also, I find it hard to read for a purpose. So although I really enjoy the book when I sit down to read, it is the making time to sit down and read that is the problem! Enough gripes about my laziness onto a review.

I really enjoyed reading The Life of Pi. Pi is an engaging character with a bit of a quirky sense of humour. The story of how Richard Parker gets his name made me giggle and I had to close the book and find a quiet corner so I could calm down. I enjoyed the first section that was about Pi's early life in Pondicherry at the zoo. His interest in becoming a Christian, a Muslim and a Hindi at the same time created an interesting conundrum. I loved the scene where all three of the religious elders came along to say why he couldn't join the others. And I don't think it was properly explained why he couldn't! This started the religious theme that continued through out the book... apparently... according to some reviews... I don't read to actively deconstruct books and pick out these kinds of themes. I read to escape.

My favourite character was Richard Parker. Despite Pi's father's warning he is anthropomorphised... and yet still remains a menace through the book. I enjoyed the scene where the boat has just sunk and Pi sees Richard Parker swimming. He decides to rescue him and calls him to the boat. We don't know
who Richard Parker is (or at least if I did, I had forgotten)
"I threw the lifebuoy mightily. It fell in the water right in front of him.
With his last energies he stretched forward and took hold of it.
'hold on tight, I'll pull you in. Don't let go. Pull with your eyes while I
pull with my hands. In a few seconds you'll be aboard and we'll be
together. Wait a second. Together? We'll be together Have I gone
I woke up to what I was doing. I yanked on the rope.
'Let go of that lifebuoy, Richard Parker! Let go, I said. I don't want you
here, do you understand? Go somewhere else. Leave me alone. Get lost!..." p99
There is a twist in the last section of the book, which I would really like to talk about. However I don't want to give it away to people who haven't read it yet...

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