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I just finished reading this book last night and absolutely loved it! As a post-modern Christian (paradoxical perhaps) I loved the way the author intertwined questions of faith with post-modern thinking. Its not that one story is more accurate or the 'true one' rather they are all different metaphors for the same experience. Martel sets this up in the first part with the dialogue Pi has with the 3 wiseman - representatives of three major worldviews/faiths. He finds they are all after the same vision "I just want to love God" (p.76) leading to their embarassment.
This parallel way of thinking extends into the second phase where Pi struggles with the infinite/finite, death/life, suffering/joy and his spiritual/physical existence. Neither is correct and both are true. They are all metaphors for personal struggle we all have as humans and to interpret these stories as literal (modernist) is to miss the parallel and/and universe Martel is insisting we inhabit.
In the final third phase, he integrates Christian metaphors that I recognize to represent maturity/growth. The garden of Eden, moving from fate to choice, and arriving at the promised land. His animal side departs/integrates/becomes invisible and he finds God not through personal suffering, but through the interactions with another human (a strangely impersonal one at that). Wonderful material!
Excelltn for all the genrations, very exciting and very easy to read and understand. Great book.
A good friend recommended *The Life of Pi* to me with "Well it's about a teenager who was named after a swimming pool who finds himself stranded on a life-boat with a hungry tiger..." It definately did NOT sound like something I wanted to read. Then she lent me a copy of the book. After ten pages I was hooked.
She should have added "it's also about God, Religion, Ethics, and Humanity's Place in the Universe".
It also tells you how to survive being stranded on a life-boat with a Bengal Tiger.
My only quarrel with the book is the last few chapters ....edited to remove plot spoiler..... Trying to put a Freudian twist on the situation is really lame.
I thought the Life Of Pi was a fascinating book, although it defies interpretation - being very open ended - I'm gonna add my 2c anyhow.......For me the thing about believing in God was to do with the two stories, one was a fabulous tale filled with animals and a mysterious island, the other dry and uninspiring - at the start of the book Pi talks at length about the stories associated with the various religions he becomes associated with and how non believers reduce these to dry factuality, so for me to believe in the first story represents a decision to believe in God(s) no matter how farfetched the story might seem, the second story represents athiesm and to doubt represents agnosticism. Whether you believe in the first or second story is besides the point as the result is the same (as Pi points out to the Japanese insurance investigators), the first story is obviously more fun to believe. Personally I feel the second story was probably 'true' but I enjoyed the first far more, however none of this really matters as its a work of fiction anyway so neither story is 'true' and it doesn't matter which story the author intended to be 'true' as the reader creates the reality of the story via their own interpretation. The island bit still has me thinking, I think its maybe a reference to the garden of Eden and forbidden fruit - maybe a metaphor for the consumption of human flesh??
Overall a great book that I'll be thinking about for a long time to come and will definitely read again.
Interesting topic...writing style and technique is below par.
This was a great story & I loved it.....I don't believe that it was a true story & here's why.
- The island is scientifically impossible, from the fresh water to the man eating trees.
- The blind man from the 2nd boat arrives at the same time that Pi was also blind.....big coincidence.
- Only 1 life-boat out of many survives the ocean.
- Tiger hiding in Mexico.
That's all I can remember for now.
Over all; it was a wonderful book & I would be reading it again.
Though this really seemed like a dumbed-down version of The Old Man and The Sea, I think Martel has successfully forced the trite metaphor of instinct vs. humanity or fear vs. morality down our throats again. If I wanted to digest another saline-bathed tale of murderous, melancholic (yet hopeful) metaphors, I'll just reread Lord of The Flies.
The journey left me wanting to follow in the footsteps of Richard Parker; fleeing without bothering to look back.
Is it just me or is everyone missing the point of this book? It's a set up. As a wise friend of mine surmised, the clue lies in Pi's two names. Phoenetically, the name Piscine sounds remarkably close to pissing. Plus the fact that Piscine is French for swimming pool, and what do we do in swimming pools? Martel is 'pissing' all over us, and Pi (3.14....) which goes on forever, shows that the longer we try and rationalise the story(ies), the longer we'll be duped. There are clues all over the book. For instance, the three religions, the crazy meekrat part, and the absurdity of the final letter. It's not even that well hidden.