Title: The Life of Pi Author: Yann Martel Related Links : Amazon, Canongate
It was a lone hardback book lying in numerous other paperbacks. People say, "Don't judge a book by its cover". But I went ahead and DID it. The Life of Pi was beckoning me to it with its pristine blue and orange hardback cover. It almost looked glittery from afar. I was at the Student Union looking for some rare and precious bargains and took no second thoughts at buying it.
Glittery covers aside, I couldn't for the life of me, put down the book once I started reading it. The book revolves around Pi, short for Piscine Molitor Patel, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary life story to tell. Yann Martel wrote that the life story of Pi was based on a true story. Till this day I haven't bothered to check whether it is in fact a true story or just another part of the book that Martel's written for effect. I just take it for granted that whatever the fact it, Pi has enriched my reading life. Ahem! Needless to say, I was hooked even from Page 1. Imagine a boy, Pi Patel, lost at sea on a safety boat trapped with a Bengal tiger, an orangutan, a zebra and a hyena, along with the occasional sea turtles and (yikes!) sharks. Martel's description of how Pi and his companions survived the bumpy ride is so vivid it's like being in a 3-D movie with the characters coming out of the screen to grab you.
The Life of Pi also somewhat analyses the aspect of religion in one's life. How can you be a Moslem, and at the same time be a Hindu and a Christian too? Is one religion better than another? How can you explain which religion to choose to a young boy who has found faith in all the religions? Is it okay to adopt all of them? I'm somewhat pleased with Martel's tale as he has not put any emphasis on any one religion. He has put the decision on the reader. "Choose whichever religion you want, Mister/Miss. I'm only here to tell the tale!", I can hear him saying to me.
The many characters that spice up the book can go from a sensible, serious person in Pi's father to downright evil as in the French cook of the Japanese ship. Erm, I can't remember exactly cuz I don't have the book with me at the moment, eheh.
To sum it all up, The Life of Pi is a marvelous book and the lesson that I learnt is that sometimes it PAYS to judge a book by its cover!