Tag: Martel

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Posted July 30, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Book of the Month, Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

Life of Pi by Yann MartelTitle: Life of Pi (Goodreads)
Author: Yann Martel
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 2001
Pages: 356
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

This month’s book club book was Life of Pi by Yann Martel and it seems to be one of those books that is hyped up so much that you don’t know whether to believe it or just groan at the thought of reading it. The book tells the story of Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, an Indian boy growing up and exploring spirituality at a very young age. Pi finds himself in a shipwreck which leads him to be stranded on a boat with a Bengal tiger.

The book starts off with Pi’s early years; with his dad working at a zoo, Pi discovers a lot to do with zoology and animal psychology. This aspect of the book would really appeal to animal lovers and people interested in the animal behaviour in general. Then we see Pi exploring religion and deciding he was Hindu, Christian and Islamic, which really bugged me. I really never understood why he would embrace all religions apart from the fact that he “just wants to love god.” This took up the first half of the book and I personally wanted to get past this and really get into the core part of this book; the part involving the boat and the tiger.

When the shipwreck finally came, I was expecting the book to pick up but it decided to focus more on philosophy and while I’m interested in this aspect of the book, I felt the Life of Pi had already tried to do too much already and adding this to the book was the last straw for me. There were plenty of aspects in the book that were interesting but as a whole it tried to do so much and I never felt like it achieved anything.

This book reminds me so much of The Alchemist in the sense it was very basic and it tries to talk about religion and philosophy but turns out to be incredibly overrated. I know a lot of people like both books (Life of Pi and The Alchemist) but I never connected with either, I was expecting a lot more from this but I was left waiting. It’s interesting to see books like this that seem to be either well-loved or well hated but not much in the middle. Life of Pi won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2002 and a string of other awards but for me, I felt the literary aspects were minimal, the religious and philosophical parts overdone and the book in its entirety, over hyped. I know many people love this book and if you do decide to read it, I hope you enjoy it more than I did.