The Life of Pi

And then he took the seventh day to rest. We call it a Sunday. My exams are about 2 days away. I can’t read a word of the book I’m trying to study. So I resorted to writing the much procrastinated review of one of the best books I’ve read and probably the only book I believe was worth the Man Booker it got.

As is usual with me, I will digress to the level of making you check the title of the post again. But yet, I will come through. So, we went to Odyssey at EA Mall one fine day and I go directly into the books section. Since I usually have an unlimited budget on what books I buy (Yeah 😀 .. My parents are THAT awesome), I tend to browse and buy a lot. I see this book. Although it was in the fiction section and I had heard of the fact that it was a great book from people who never were into math in the first place, it did not strike me that the book was not about the number pi. Ajay clarified that the book was complete fiction, had nothing to do with math and was one of the best books that he ever came across. Now I trust few people on the subject of reading. Ajay is definitely one of them.

So I bought the book with a debit card (Again, what can I say, I am COOL! :D) and went off home to read it.

The Life of Pi is hard to describe in one sentence. It is like nothing I’ve ever read before. That is saying something considering I read a lot. I am not being patronising, believe me. Some books leave a very deep imprint on your memory cells. This is definitely one of them. I categorise it in the same league as LotR, Shantaram and all the other classics which are worth their words.

The book is about a character named Piscine Molitor Patel – the great mix of names has a long story behind it – and this is a story of how his life completely changes from peaceful harmony to absolute chaos and a struggle for survival. Sounds like the government of 10 countries are chasing him around the globe, doesn’t it? There, you would be wrong. The story is about how he gets caught in a lifeboat after losing his family in a drowning ship and has a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and a Royal Bengal Tiger for company. Getting interesting, isn’t it? Like the back of the book says – The scene is set for a great adventure 🙂

Rather than delve into the plot and make spoilers, I thought I’d just skim through my own thoughts on the book. I find most authors have a knack of being VERY exhaustive on the descriptions. Of particular notice among the contemporaries would be Dan Brown. Yann Martel has the same problem. If you read a lot, you will eventually start ignoring most of the facts or come back to the descriptions if some line in the book doesn’t match the imagined character in your head.

The author seems to have done his homework on both India (where the protagonist is from) and survival at sea. Although some of the descriptions may be too grotesque to the liking of others, I am quite acclimatised to it (I suggest watching dexter :P). It can get quite boring in the middle for people who get easily distracted though – one reason why I couldn’t finish the book within a day and a half as I usually do at my speed.

Yann Martel’s writing is kind of unique in a way (as is everyone else’s). He seems to go more into the language of the layman – which is pretty appropriate considering the style of narration – rather than the high end English that Amitav Ghosh resorts to. It is sheer hypocrisy to say I prefer that but I really do.

Final Consensus – The book is most definitely worth the read. If you feel bored after some time, keep the book down, go for a walk, whistle random tunes, log on to facebook, drink some coffee, have a KitKat and then come back to the book. I guarantee you that when you finish reading, you will feel the exact same way as I do.


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