“A Book a Week” is back after a short break with a wonderful novel, “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel. I’ve read it after hearing a few colleagues talk about it at work and the details they gave were so engaging I just have to see what was said in there for myself.
It is the amazing story of an Indian boy from Pondycherry. He has a strange name, Piscine Molitor Patel, that has caused him great distress in school, as the French pool name was mispronounced as “Piss”. So at a certain point, the smart little boy changes his name to Pi Patel.
What builds his character and prepares him for the scary adventure he is going to face is, on one hand, the time spent in the Pondicherry Zoo, managed by his father, and on he other hand, his neverending interest in religion. By the time he becomes a teenager, Pi is a fervent Muslim, Hindu and Christian at the same time, praying to God in any way he can.
When turning sixteen, his parents and older brother start preparing for a permanent move to Canada, caused by India’s political issues. The animals from the zoo are sold to new zoos around the world and some of them start their voyage accross the Pacific along with Pi’s family, on the Tsimtsum, a cargo ship that suddenly sinks in the middle of the ocean.
Pi makes it to a life boat, along with a zebra, an urangutan, a spotted hiena and a Royal Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. And here is where his amazing adventure begins, strengthening him and teaching him to survive with some wild beasts aboard.
The ending is extremely troubling and no one who wants to enjoy the book shoudl know about the actions unfolding in the last part of the book. This is why I won’t link to Wikipedia’s entry on the book this time.
When I read the last page, I had a really weird feeling. Hope, mixed with a strong desire to cry, admiration for what few humans could achieve, a feeling day to day problems are so insignificant. Hope you read the book and let me know what you think of it and what you’ll be feeling like after finishing it.