Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Life of Pi (2004 read)

Life of PiLife of Pi by Yann Martel (Mariner Books)
Life of Pi is one of those books that's really, really difficult to describe without spoiling the whole thing. It's also one of those books that can be read across several genres and age groups. For me, it doesn't fit any single category.

Piscine Molitor Patel is castaway and has an otherworldy, fantastic experience. Or maybe he doesn't. The author gives us two stories, one that is almost, almost believable, and one that is far too believable. In the end, we're forced to attend to questions of how far our faith in a story will extend, on multiple levels. I had a hard time getting into the story, but once I did, I was plugging for the hero to make it. And admittedly, I was unsettled the whole way through. The story has a lot of deliberate ambiguous pairings. Which of two versions is correct? I'm not sure we are to know; instead, I think we're to question. In questioning, this book has stayed with me for a long time.

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