File Size: 1653 KB
Print Length: 482 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st edition (June 4, 2002)
Publication Date: June 4, 2002
It's that sense of surprise that kept me reading, dragging me through the story as if I were tied to a truck rolling through a busy street. I couldn't put the guide down. I was drawn through it by my curiosity. Read it then come back and write about it.
A boy and a tiger on a boat. It sounds want it belongs under the marvelous realism section, with Salman Rushdie. But its not. The story is told by a narrator acquainted with the mathematics of animal-human interaction. But to confine this story to one within the limits of zoology would be preposterous. Pi is a pupil of religion and pets. Religion perhaps is something that differentiates humans from animals and that question of what makes us all humans unique is a recurring theme in the story. For Pi, the love of God is mankind's unique and best joy. It's not a God that belongs to a people or a culture, but a general God, the Creator of a world that Professional indemnity loves. "A God", as Pi states in a memorable line, "whose presence is reward enough".
In case love of God is unique to human beings, then the next intelligence. And it is intelligence that Professional indemnity uses to survive the long journey, on a tiny boat, with a tiger. With constant awareness of the tiger's state of mind, and the time available to him, Pi really does survive, and this relatively miraculous survival is what makes up the almost all this story's 100 chapters.
Pi survives to explain to the story. Had the tale finished with his final adventure, another battle against the inevitable hunger and danger of his travel companion we would have a story both miraculous and amazingly - acceptable.
But the story continues. Right after his rescue Pi is interviewed along with great stress gives a second description of his survival. This particular description is gruesome, horrific, and since it is different to the story we have just finished reading, raises very challenging questions.
Firstly and many importantly, which version is the true one? Could such a horrific and gruesome tale have been made up?
But on the other hand, can we really consider dismissing the original story as a mere metaphor for the second "true" story? What of the spectacular details? And what of those parts in the initial story which don't appear to map to the second version so easily?
May be the first story just a metaphor? If it is, then this is in the end a book about the human requirement of myth as a means for living with impossible truths.
If it is not, and the first story is the true one, then this second story is simply a bone thrown to a dog, a "rational" version of events thrown to a "rational" interviewer, a fool for whom "reason is gold".
Which is the true answer? Can we accept the first or the second version?
Ultimately, Yann Martel asks us to choose: Is it a believable fantasy, or is it a necessary metaphor?
How we choose is maybe related in no small measure by our own relationship with reason and rationality. Do we rely on them totally for the survival, or might we allow for something else, some unfathomable good "beyond the realm of thought and language"?, I normally turn away from ecumenical philosophy, but Martel's writing makes up (and justifies it) with the naivete of a teenager and the sensibilities of the Asian mind, not to mention the framework of the story. Typically the story itself treads precariously in the edges of fantasy writing in a couple of places, but to great congruency of the remainder. I see symbols and allegories all over, but let each reader interpret them as they like, I was simply influenced by it. The writing is down to earth, wonderful and engaging. Everytime I had to put the book down it was which includes regret., When you finish an individual read it again (or throw it at a wall. ) It's almost a puzzle, a riddle, a real thought-provoker. The writer is a provocative storyteller. I still think about the story and the that means behind it all, and I finished it a couple of weeks ago... Can't imagine how this book will translate into a show and retain its essence, but of course, I will see the movie to see how the story is told in cinematic format. Also wondering how it will be rated, not for intercourse, drugs or language, but for violent content unacceptable for children... Needless to say the film maker might explain to a little different tale. At any rate, whatever one's undertake the guide, it's a story about storytelling!
Now, for my own version of Life of P. I. (Pine Island, that is). This particular won't mean much for you if you haven't browse the original Life of Professional indemnity:
I find myself living on an island in SW Florida. I was trying to survive it until I find another place to land. Living here is hard because from the place where people seafood, or drink alcohol, or both. That's pretty much IT. The actions are not mutually exclusive, and both activities can start at daybreak. I neither seafood, nor drink, so I have to find other activities to keep me busy. Having found much beauty and solace in the great outdoors in the past, I've tried out hiking through P. I. 's overgrown woodlands. I have tried kayaking the many waterways on and around the island. I've greased up my green thumb, and tried planting a garden, a rewarding pursuit in my past, living in other areas. Here? All of those things are horribly disappointing! The air is solid with biting insects, a few of whom could kill you in case you are allergic or there is a mosquito-borne virus in the area. Fire ants crawl up your thighs and deliver a fiercely painful bite--not one, but hundreds, completely now "let's really hurt this person. " The bites intensify and swell with marcia and angry redness; illness often follows. There are poisonous brown recluse spiders who hide in your boat and garden, lurking there to bite and maybe eliminate you, too. Never mind the snakes! Snakes hiding in the woods, in the water, in your garden. Rattlers, cottonmouths, coral reefs snakes. You can never be extremely careful! Behemoth alligators swim whereever it's moist.... beware! Did I talk about the heat? It's constant... burning, smothering, wet, unpleasant and oppressive. You can never avoid it, night or day. The sky is apparently bearing down on you. In addition to forget hurricane season! It's so nerve-racking and dangerous. Best to stay inside and hope the air conditioner never stops working in home or car. This place is heck on earth!
or, if you love I can tell you the story of L. I. without all the animals, at least not the nasty ones:
Have I told you about my home, P. I. (Pine Island)? What a glorious place! The island folk are laid-back and friendly--they'll invite you away to fish on their boat or buy you a beer at the local saloon the 1st time they meet you. I was here during Hurricane Charley which was unpleasant and nerve-racking, but afterwards the people about this island pulled together and helped the other put our lives back together, like nothing I've ever seen. "Love thy Neighbor" truly practiced here... This island then is luxuriant and forested--the predominant colors here are blue (the water and the sky) and green (the color of the hardwoods that keep this island different from other barrier islands. ) Oh, and I shouldn't forget the multicolored flowers, dragonflies and butterflies that flourish here in island gardens, along the roadsides, as well as in the woods. Large pink parrots and brilliant white ones can be seen traveling across clear blue heavens or brilliant sunsets over the gulf. The warmth here embraces like a light blanket even when people in the north are shivering under real ones. During the night the air is filled with the sound of bald eagles calling to their mates, and the delightful aroma of evening blooming jasmine. There's so much to do! Angling, hiking, kayaking, birding, gardening, trying to spot indigenous wildlife, socializing with the locals. This place is heaven on earth!
Which usually version is true? I wrote them both, and on different days have believed both versions. Just like The Life of PI., It started shateringly slowly, so much so that I almost left behind it about 20 pct of the way in. My reading sessions became shorter and the amount of time between reading broadened. However, once having been in the sea, the story became fascinating and I completed it In three sittings.
The story was compelling and oddly believable and fanciful concurrently. In case you can get through the beginning, the storyplot will reward you.
Scott Chemical. Thompson.
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