Piscine Molitor Patel or Pi in short, had spent an exotic childhood in the Zoo of Pondicherry on account of him being the zoo keeper's son. At an early age, he knew more about wild animals that any young teenager is expected to know. This knowledge of wild animals, their behaviour and natural instincts become his only defense against an adult Royal Bengal Tiger when both of them are marooned in a lifeboat for seven months. Pi learns how to survive on the Pacific Ocean without any food or fresh water supplies. Not only that, he even manages to keep the tiger alive. Yann Martel tells us this extraordinary tale in his book Life of Pi.
The story delves not so much into the social, historical context of man as it does into the man -animal relationship. For, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, without any supplies of food, water or shelter, man is but a savage- sans society, sans history. Once a strict God fearing vegetarian, Pi learns to catch fish, birds, turtles, kill them and eat them raw. He even describes tasting urine and feces for nourishment. The tiger becomes Pi's only companion- he slowly loses fear of the tiger, learns to establish mastery over him and manages to keep both himself and the tiger alive for seven months on a lonely sea.' I love you, Richard Parker...If I didn't have you now,... I would die of hopelessness...I'll get you to land, I promise.'
And true to his promise, Pi is unable to leave his companion to die on a carnivorous algae island and takes him along, at life risk, as he sets out to find hospitable land.
Yann Martel uses a lucid and vibrant language to tell his gripping tale. Short sentences and simple words convey the immediacy of the situation. Pi does not have any time to philosophize as he struggles to survive in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Martel's language plays along- there are no poetic descriptions on the beauty of the sea, no charming friendship described between man and tiger. The language is stripped down to stating just fact, as per Pi's reality:
'I burst into hot tears. I buried my face in my crossed arms and sobbed. My situation was patently hopeless.'
I enjoyed reading this book immensely. The tale, though fantastical, is gripping and very credibly delivered. The meticulous details that describe Pi's journey show the author's knowledge of the sea and wild life. Overall, this book gave me the same thrill as I experienced when reading Robinson Crusoe as a child.
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Life of Pi", although the middle section was a bit repetitve and monotonous. The beginning was well written and provided …
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The book was very prolonged. I felt a lot of the events in the story was spread out longer than it should.
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I'm not sure how to describe it shorts but I'll try. It taught me so much about animals and religion, it showed me a whole bunch of things about this world …