Thursday, February 07, 2008

THE LIFE OF PI


Beware: Potential spoilers ahead.

The words maths and sci-fi came to mind as soon as I heard about the book that goes by ‘The Life of Pi’. Long, complex looking mathematical equations started darting in front of my eyes whenever I thought of the book. I must mention that the book was recommended to me by a ‘maths-science-and works’ aficionado and I am sure you will agree that my mental imagery wasn’t unfounded. Of course, I couldn’t get myself to read such a book!...it wasn’t ‘my types’…
I don’t remember what exactly made me pick up the book, maybe, it was the knowledge of the fact that India featured in the novel or maybe it was the cover (it sure didn’t look like a sci-fi novel from its cover) or maybe it was just to satisfy my curiosity about the queer title. V started reading the book before me and whenever I’d ask “So what is the book about?” I would hear something like “Don’t know yet”. I decided to find out for myself.
How right he was….believe me, you don’t know where the story is headed till you finish part one of the book, unless of course, you have done some background reading about the book and tried to put the cover in perspective.
Some books get you hooked up from page one, and then there are those that you have to plough through till you get to the interesting parts. I would say Yann Martel’s Life of Pi belongs to the second category. The initial pages are not drab, but as a reader one needs to know where a story is headed no matter how entertaining the read has been so far. “Hang on till part one and then you won’t realize when you finish the book”, some friends had mentioned. So with that hope, I continued to read, page after page, and then I reached a point where I couldn’t keep the book down.
The book begins with the author’s note about the story behind the novel. He mentions meeting an individual in a coffee shop in Pondicherry, India who tells him the story that is now the novel. The references of people and places made me believe that it was a real story that I was reading. Silly me, actually started googling for Pi Patel (the main character of the story) hoping to find some clues about his existence and wondering how I had missed a story so fascinating. Alas, I found out that the novel is a work of fiction. I felt betrayed and berated myself for being naïve, but, full marks to the author for making the story so real and believable. Definitely worth reading!

8 comments:

Harshita said...

I should read this one too :)
What was the other psycho-analyst book you were telling me about the other day?

Roshan said...

Akira, thanks for your comments on my blog on 12 Angry Men. I used to be an ardent viewer of Doordarshan. I am surprised that I could miss this one!

Life of Pi is one of the most brilliant novels I have ever read. If you like this one, you may also want to read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" by Mark Haddon.

I am said...

hey girl, was about to comment on this post but got distracted. its a great book. have u read the Kite runner? I finished quite a lot of books during this trip ..and it was one of them...
try it...

tapioca sabzi sounded good :) pic downloading takes time here so could not comment there... yenhi kaar dia...will be back in 2 weeks..will catch up then..

~rAGU said...

the author is from saskatoon, canada. i met him here last summer in a function. picked up the book. got bored and never finished! i should consider reading it again then. thanks

Tripti said...

I absolutely love this book ! I share your sentiments at the end of the book but the last chapter taught me something very valuable. Its all about how you look at life makes a difference :)

Akira said...

Tripti,

How true!...thanks for sharing your interpretation :)

indianraga said...

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BetweenLines said...

This surely was a book of the second category as you mentioned. It was on my reading list for a long time and finally when I got it I couldn't get myself to read beyond the first 100 or pages. Maybe if I had persisted for a few more pages....