Constant Reader
WebBoardOrientationReading ListsHome WorksActivities

Life of Pi
by Yann Martel

Amazon.com
Yann Martel's imaginative and unforgettable Life of Pi is a magical reading experience, an endless blue expanse of storytelling about adventure, survival, and ultimately, faith. The precocious son of a zookeeper, 16-year-old Pi Patel is raised in Pondicherry, India, where he tries on various faiths for size, attracting "religions the way a dog attracts fleas." Planning a move to Canada, his father packs up the family and their menagerie and they hitch a ride on an enormous freighter. After a harrowing shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean, trapped on a 26-foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker ("His head was the size and color of the lifebuoy, with teeth"). It sounds like a colorful setup, but these wild beasts don't burst into song as if co-starring in an anthropomorphized Disney feature. After much gore and infighting, Pi and Richard Parker remain the boat's sole passengers, drifting for 227 days through shark-infested waters while fighting hunger, the elements, and an overactive imagination. In rich, hallucinatory passages, Pi recounts the harrowing journey as the days blur together, elegantly cataloging the endless passage of time and his struggles to survive: "It is pointless to say that this or that night was the worst of my life. I have so many bad nights to choose from that I've made none the champion."
      An award winner in Canada, Life of Pi, Yann Martel's second novel, should prove to be a breakout book in the U.S. At one point in his journey, Pi recounts, "My greatest wish--other than salvation--was to have a book. A long book with a never-ending story. One that I could read again and again, with new eyes and fresh understanding each time." It's safe to say that the fabulous, fablelike Life of Pi is such a book. --Brad Thomas Parsons


From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, November 28, 2002 02:21 PM About the ending, and about the beginning. In the first chapter...it actually is written as an introduction by the author (I wondered f this was a device to set the story up as more real...?) We hear the author say he met a man in India who would tell hima story that would make him believe in God. What in this story would work to do that, did anyone reading and finishing feel this novel had accomplished the goal that the story would make one believe in God? I wondered if the idea that the whole story on the boat was fake/imaginary versus the really grime true story means that fantasy is better than the real story...that the idea of god is better than the real life of humans???? I feel rather confused about this aim of the novel...or PART of the aim of the novel. I am not sure I believe in God after reading it??? But in general I have found myself thinking about this for the past week..... any comments? Ideas? Lost, Candy
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (2 of 12), Read 36 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Tonya Presley t-pr@attbi.com Date: Saturday, November 30, 2002 04:27 PM Candy, I have been thinking about this question for a couple of days. The short answer is no, I didn't experience any revelatory awakening kind of feeling reading PI. The long answer is, therefore, impossible for me to address. If something there was meant to be mystical enough to bring on a religious conversion, I missed it. Even on a logical, academic level, I'm not sure where it was supposed to have been gleaned. Tonya
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (3 of 12), Read 32 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, December 01, 2002 10:42 PM I'm heading down the home front on this one..I thought I'd be done but instead of reading, I've been nursing my mother-in-law who came down for Thanksgiving and ended up really ill. Give me a few, and I'll be back. Beej
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (4 of 12), Read 33 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Lee Beech lee.beech@sympatico.ca Date: Monday, December 02, 2002 07:58 AM I have now read Max and the Cats by Moacyr Scliar, and am able to comment on the controversy which arose over The Life of Pi. Other than the shipwreck and the company of the animal, the novels are totally different. In Max, the voyage is actually a minor element whereas in Pi, it is the main line of the plot. In Max, the author has written a political novel, concerned with the Nazi movement. Pi has many themes, including philosophical and religious speculation. I enjoyed Max and the Cats, but not nearly as much as The Life of Pi. The authors both introduced the same element, but in vastly different styles, with different purposes, and developed differently. I continue to feel that the whole episode is a publicity agent's dream.
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (5 of 12), Read 34 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Tonya Presley t-pr@attbi.com Date: Monday, December 02, 2002 09:40 AM I'm glad you reported on that, since I've been on the verge of buying Max and the Cat several times already. Now I can let it go. Tonya
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (6 of 12), Read 34 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Monday, December 02, 2002 03:37 PM Tonya, thanks for your thoughts on that question... SPOILER#################### I can only see that idea that the "real events" versus the "poetic events" have to do with the idea of believing in god...the boy chose not to tell the cannibalism and murder so literally he chose to replace people with animals and metaphor...that having a poetic story is "better" than the actual events. I see this as maybe we don't read religious texts as so literal but rather as myths that tell us something subconsiously??? But I don't know, I could be talking in circles right now... still questioning the ideas... I definately preffered the animal version of his voyage, heh heh...but what made the whole thing more interesting was the "ending" or rather the true story versus his made up story... I shall be anxious to hear what Ruth and Beej make of this book too... scratching my head without losing the enjoyment of this book though! Candy
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (7 of 12), Read 42 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Monday, December 02, 2002 03:38 PM Lee, thanks so much for your comparison of the two books...very interesting stuff...I always love these literary scandals such high drama huh?
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (8 of 12), Read 31 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, December 05, 2002 08:10 AM SPOILER ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I've FINALLY finished this book and I think it's imperative to do a second reading in order to fully comprehend it all. I think, during a second reading, that one of the most important aspects to keep in mind is that Pi not only is trying to survive physically, but also trying to survive emotionally and spiritually..to save himself from Robert Parker..in essence, from himself. To do what he has done in order to survive..to witness all he had witnessed, what good would it all be if he, as a deeply spiritual adolescent, lost his human dignity, his sense of love for others, hes sense of selflessness for the better of humankind? He survived; his basic instincts for survival overtook all other aspects of his life. I believe Pi was the algae island. I think we are seeing the effects of all that happened on three different parts of Pi..as the boy, as the tiger, as the island...in effect, the id, the ego, and the superego. I've finished the book, but I'm only half done..a second reading is unavoidable in order to get it all. I thought the writing was beautiful. I thought the story was fantastic. i thought the message was deep. I'll bet this book is heading for a Nobel. There's so much more I'd like to get into with it, but my time is not my own right now. I really want to discuss this algae island and what I think it symbolizes, especially in regards to those teeth. Beej
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (9 of 12), Read 22 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Saturday, December 07, 2002 03:39 PM Spoiler continued... Oh, that is an insightful way of looking at the algae island...I have to admit when he found those teeth...all I could think of was a disturbing(among many) scene in Polanskis The Tenant when he finds teeth hidden in his apartment wall...and this kind of ties into your seeing the island as Pi, Beej...as The Tenant comes down to Polanskis characters reading of himself... The teeth bit was so creepy in Pi...and I had almost forgotten about them. I like the idea of the id, ego and superego. I tend to see the layers as not so psychological but rather as the idea of the onion layers-a kind of metaphor for spiritual knowledge. I saw some kind of peeling of information in "Pi"... and I think it is a book to re-read as you and Tonya and others have suggested... I think you've hit on something about him looking after Richard Parker as sometimes it is common for people under duress=emotional or spiritual, to not look after themselves, and his feeding R.P. made sure he was caring about another creature, even though it was himself...??? much to ponder...
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (10 of 12), Read 34 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Sunday, December 08, 2002 01:03 AM spoil Interesting notes, all. I thought the algae island = paradise (free food, easy living). Pi unpeels the forbidden fruit, like Adam and Eve eating the apple, and is cast out. Also, like Pandora opening her box. This book was fine, but not an earth shaker for me. Theresa A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging prejudices. William James
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (11 of 12), Read 23 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Tonya Presley t-pr@attbi.com Date: Sunday, December 08, 2002 01:22 PM Oh, I like that notion a lot! To call a book earth shaking is a tall order! I couldn't say PI is earth shaking, but I couldn't put it down either. The ending is, as I said before, as memorable as PERFUME. IMO, very few books manage this; they either fade away, or truncate off, or something a little less satisfying than PI's ending. Tonya
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (12 of 12), Read 4 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Karen Slongwhite bookworm@greeneland.com Date: Monday, December 16, 2002 09:01 AM Tonya -- I read the first few notes in this thread, became interested in reading the book, and put it on hold at the library. I'm now up to number 4 on the list, but obviously this thread will be timed out before I get the book at this rate. Could you archive this thread for me when you have a minute? Thank you! Karen
From: Tonya Presley t-pr@attbi.com Date: Monday, December 16, 2002 02:45 PM I made a page of the notes that are current now, and I think nothing more than "loved it" kinds of notes were posted before these. I hope you will enjoy the book, Karen. I noticed just now that it has nudged out PREY for the #1 spot at Amazon! Tonya
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (6 of 25), Read 39 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Karen Slongwhite bookworm@greeneland.com Date: Monday, December 16, 2002 02:54 PM Thanks, Tonya! That's pretty amazing. I have Prey on hold on the library also, but I'm about #135 on that list, so I'm not holding my breath :-) Karen
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (7 of 25), Read 40 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, December 16, 2002 03:48 PM I got Pi in the mail yesterday. It's in the pipeline, but not #1. Library books take precedence. Ruth
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (8 of 25), Read 35 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Tonya Presley t-pr@attbi.com Date: Friday, December 20, 2002 12:56 AM Just found this explanation by Yann Martel on Amazon, about naming the tiger. Thought some of you would find it interesting too: People have asked me how the tiger in my novel Life of Pi came to be called Richard Parker. I didn't just pull the name out of a hat. In fact, Richard Parker's name is the result of a triple coincidence. In 1884, the Mignonette, a yacht, set sail from Southampton, England, for Australia. She had a crew of four. In the South Atlantic, the seas were heavy. Wave after wave struck the vessel. Suddenly, she broke apart and sank. Captain, mate, hand, and cabin boy managed to scramble aboard a dinghy--but without water or provisions except for two cans of turnips. After 19 days adrift, starving and desperate, the captain killed the cabin boy, who was unconscious and had no dependents, and the three remaining survivors ate him. The cabin boy's name was Richard Parker. His fate, in itself, is not particularly noteworthy. Cannibalism on the high seas was surprisingly common at the time. The reason Richard Parker--or, more accurately, "the case of the Mignonette"--has gone down in history, at least in knowledgeable legal circles, is that upon their return to England, the survivors (they were rescued shortly after killing R.P. by a Swedish ship) were tried for murder, a first. Up till then, murder committed under duress, because of severe necessity, was informally accepted as justifiable. But with the Mignonette, the powers-that-be decided to examine the question more closely. The case went all the way to the Lords and set a legal precedent. The captain was found guilty of murder. To this day, the only excuse for murder remains self-defense, and any British legal team that tries to argue otherwise will get a lecture from the judge about the Mignonette. Murder committed in extreme circumstances for the sake of sustaining life remains illegal (though those who commit it usually get light sentences). That's one Richard Parker. Fifty years earlier, in 1837, Edgar Allan Poe published his only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. It was a commission that quickly lost Poe's interest. He finished it with a mix of reluctance and slapdash hurry that is not a recipe for great literature. Pym is a sloppy work that would have vanished without a trace if weren't for its author's fame. In the story, the ship upon which Pym and a friend set sail from Nantucket overturns in a storm. Survivors cling to the hull. After several days, hunger and despair push Pym and his friend to eat a third man. His name is Richard Parker. Remember, Poe wrote Pym 50 years before the sinking of the Mignonette. And then there was the Francis Speight, a ship that foundered in 1846. There were deaths and cannibalism aboard. One of the victims was a Richard Parker. So many victimized Richard Parkers had to mean something. My tiger found his name. He's a victim, too--or is he?
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (9 of 25), Read 33 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, December 20, 2002 08:53 AM Thanks for this, Tonya. It's really interesting, especially the part about Poe's novel and that he named a character Richard Parker even before the events on the ship Mignonette occurred. (even Martel's explanation is beautifully written. I'm beginning to think this man couldn't write a bad sentence if he tried.) Beej
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (10 of 25), Read 34 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Tonya Presley t-pr@attbi.com Date: Friday, December 20, 2002 10:12 AM I agree Beej, Martel is a talented writer. Very smooth. Tonya
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (11 of 25), Read 33 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Friday, December 20, 2002 11:41 AM I started this yesterday, and given the evidence so far, I agree on the quality of Martel's writing. Ruth
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (12 of 25), Read 35 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Tonya Presley t-pr@attbi.com Date: Friday, December 20, 2002 01:19 PM I'll cross my fingers Candy was wrong about you & this book, Ruth! Tonya
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (13 of 25), Read 38 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, December 20, 2002 01:23 PM me too! In fact, I was thinking that Ruth would love this book..we'll see! Beej
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (14 of 25), Read 38 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Monday, December 23, 2002 01:17 AM I hope I am wrong too, I don't like hearing that people have bad reading experiences. After reading all the posts here, I probably am wrong guessing Ruths take on this book. No one else seemed to think Martel used a lot of cliches in his novel....which is the thing that rubbed me a bit while reading...
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (15 of 25), Read 37 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, December 23, 2002 10:39 AM Candy, I HOPE you're wrong for selfish reasons! I just want to hear Ruth's take on this book, is all. I don't know why, but this book keeps going round and round in my head. It's not Pi that has stayed with me, either..it's the tiger. Beej
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (16 of 25), Read 35 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, December 23, 2002 11:25 AM I started out like gangbusters. I loved the descriptions of the zoo and the animals. Now I'm in the midst of "Lets take a tour through Religions of the World, kiddies." It better get better fast or I'm outta here. R
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (17 of 25), Read 28 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Monday, December 23, 2002 04:35 PM Keep going, Ruth. It gets better. Anne
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (18 of 25), Read 22 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, December 24, 2002 10:34 AM The book was ALL about the tiger for me Beej. Without the animal action of this novel...I wouldn't have lasted...but that is purely my taste in reading. I really didn't think Ruth would lke the religious aspects of this novel. I thought she would have less tolerance for the cliched metaphors than I did. WHICH...doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the book, I did. SPOILER ************************************* Therefore...I am still in a quandry about whether this novel achieves one of its self proclaimed goals: "I will tell you a story that will make you believe in God." This book did not make me believe in God....but I DID agree with its idea about the imagination...that a story goes further with fiction than fact. I take this thesis to mean that 1) the religious stories some of us hold dear are "better" for us than the facts...our mythologies and fables tell us a certain type of "truth" and 2) there is an environmetal message in Pi too, that a "story with animlas is better than a story without animals" which could indicate the novels belief that we should care for all life on earth, that human life is important, but so is all animals lives and we should protect animal life in our history. still thinking out loud, Candy
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (19 of 25), Read 27 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, December 26, 2002 09:38 PM Candy, would you consider this story to be pure parable? Beej
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (20 of 25), Read 26 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, December 26, 2002 10:17 PM I finished this a couple of days ago. I have to admit, it began to lose me on that algae island thing. Just too much. But I loved idea of the two stories at the end. The tiger and the cook. Which one was real? Which one is real for Pi? What is the nature of each person's reality? R
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (21 of 25), Read 22 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Lee Beech lee.beech@sympatico.ca Date: Friday, December 27, 2002 07:17 AM With interest, I have been following the comments about The Life of Pi. They have given me many moments of contemplation. I am coming to the conclusion that this novel is really about the "nature of reality". Not only do we have the realities presented in the ending to consider, but also the realities of the three different religions, whether the "story" proves the reality of God, but also the reality of the natural world as exemplified not only by the island, but also by the algae island. I found this a brilliant piece of literature. Unlike some, I felt it was wonderfully written, profound, and inspiring. Of all of the books which I read during 2002 (and there were a lot), this was the one which I considered to have been the greatest. As a matter of fact, it is on my all-time best books list.
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (22 of 25), Read 23 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Lee Beech lee.beech@sympatico.ca Date: Friday, December 27, 2002 07:19 AM Okay, I check the spelling, but don't really look at what I write! When I wrote about the reality of the algae island, the other reality I meant to mention was the person who appeared to him. Sorry -- my reality is somewhat obscured, it seems!.
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (23 of 25), Read 13 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, December 27, 2002 12:24 PM Beej, I think this story is a complete parable...and its a parable about the value of parables. Maybe even a parable about the healthy aspects of denial. Lee wrote: I am coming to the conclusion that this novel is really about the "nature of reality". Not only do we have the realities presented in the ending to consider, but also the realities of the three different religions, whether the "story" proves the reality of God, but also the reality of the natural world as exemplified not only by the island, but also by the algae island. This is well put Lee, and ties into my feeling that this is a story about the importance of fiction/parable/myth as valuable to our sense of history and reality as the "facts". I see it in many ways like "The Last Temptation of Christ" where even IF Christ had survived the crucifiction...it is more important to understand that he died for human suffering and sins. The myths in Pi are more valuable than the actual events...they depict Pi's development as a spiritual person, a loving person and a practical person...(???) Candy
Topic: LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel (24 of 25), Read 16 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Friday, December 27, 2002 01:00 PM Who said that this story would "make you believe in God?" It didn't. In fact, except for the clumsy "Introduction to Comparative Religion" section in the first part of the book, I didn't see much connection with religion at all. Unless it's the one of our willing belief of the unbelieveable. Elaborating on what I said before and agreeing with Lee, I think it's about the nature of reality. Perhaps each of us constructs his own reality according to what can be borne. If the cook story is "true," then Pi has constructed the whole tiger story in order to face what occurred and what he became in order to survive. And the book becomes a psychological exploration. Or was our willingness to go along with the tiger tale (and he sucked us in so slowly, so masterfully, that I almost took the bait completely,) a parallel with our willingness to believe the impossible in tales myth/relgion? Or does belief construct its own reality? (That's the only level on which I can interpret that algae island, BTW) R
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, December 27, 2002 02:06 PM On 12/27/2002 1:00:00 PM, R Bavetta wrote: >Who said that this story would >"make you believe in God?" At the beginning of the book, there was an "introduction" by the "author". I put introduction and author in quotes because I believe that was a literary device to help us fall into believing this story as a true account that the author encountered on his trip to India. I'm not saying the real author didn't feel what he felt or go where he said he did in the introduction...but I believe it was a device to help us get into the reality "" etc of the tale. He says a man he met told him the following account, and its a story that will make you believe in God. I believe its a story that demonstrates the value of storytelling, in the value of "believing in God" as an example...but I think there are several ways that this book shows the values of stories versus "truthful accounts". Its not so much he selling the idea of God, but rather the value of believing in a God...or in mythological takes on reality. > >It didn't. In fact, except for >the clumsy "Introduction to >Comparative Religion" section >in the first part of the book, >I didn't see much connection >with religion at all. Unless >it's the one of our willing >belief of the unbelieveable. It did seem to make Pi, and the "author" believe in God...which is interesting in itself. > >Elaborating on what I said >before and agreeing with Lee, >I think it's about the nature >of reality. Perhaps each of us >constructs his own reality >according to what can be >borne. I agree. > >If the cook story is "true," >then Pi has constructed the >whole tiger story in order to >face what occurred and what he >became in order to survive. >And the book becomes a >psychological exploration. I think we find out the cook story is the real story, but Pi's story is our "favorite" story. Okay, I think I am wearing out my " quotation key here, heh heh. > >Or was our willingness to go >along with the tiger tale (and >he sucked us in so slowly, so >masterfully, that I almost >took the bait completely,) a >parallel with our willingness >to believe the impossible in >tales myth/relgion? Yes, and it points out our willingness to go along with a lot of stories, from Moby Dick, to David Copperfeild, to Genesis, to the Big Bang narrative. I don't think it suggests that one narrative is BETTER than another, but rather our species LIKES stories better than truth. And these stories carry a weight and truth every bit as valid as facts. The tiger story is a WAY better story than the sad facts of cook, boy, mother getting butchered and tramatized. The tiger story gives us poetry, imagination, problem solving, and most of all hope and insight into the strength that a psychological tool for survival can give anyone. > >Or does belief construct its >own reality? (That's the only >level on which I can interpret >that algae island, BTW) I think belief does construct its own reality. But I think the facts construct a form of reality too.
From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, December 29, 2002 08:49 PM Candy, your post brought to mind something I've always thought to be true; we each live in our own reality. You and I could go through identical experiences together, but your reality of those experiences would probably be very different from my reality of the same experiences. But they would both be valid. The only way I could see this as tied into a belief of God would be to say that all faith is based on personal perceptions of what's 'real'..but, whether it's 'real' or not, is not the point of this story...to me, the point of the story is survival, at all levels. and if faith in a fantasy results in survival, then who's to say it wasn't real? Certainly not Martel, or Pi, either. Beej
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, December 29, 2002 09:33 PM faith in a fantasy results in survival, then who's to say it wasn't real? Wouldn't you say it's the faith that's real, rather than the fantasy? Maybe Pi could believe in his fantasy of the tiger because he was ready to believe in anything, look at the evidence of his belief in many religions at once. R
From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, December 29, 2002 09:42 PM Ruth asked: "Wouldn't you say it's the faith that's real, rather than the fantasy?" Oh, absolutely, Ruth. But if the consequences of faith in any particular fantasy are real, doesn't that somehow validate the fantasy? But, I think you've hit on a key note, that his faith, on every level, is what allowed for his survival. It's the reality of his faith, a faith so absolute that he could even believe he was sailing the blue with tigers and hyenas, if that's what it took, in order to come out on the other side of this ordeal, whole and sane. Pi believed in the reality of the tiger because it was necessary to do so in order to survive emotionally. His faith in that fantasy..if it was a fantasy..allowed him to survive emotionally intact. And, look at how it affects us, the readers. Here we sit debating whether or not there really was a tiger on that boat. I think deep down we all know he witnessed a slaughtering of people. We don't want to accept it, either. So we give a validation to the reality of that tiger, ourselves, by the mere fact that we debate it. Beej
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, December 29, 2002 10:04 PM Actually, to me, Beej, it was a relief to realize about the slaughter. I'd followed that tiger even further than I wanted to follow it, even unto the algae island, but there I stopped. If the book had ended there, I'd have considered it an interesting tale, but only that. R
From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, December 29, 2002 10:08 PM But wasn't there a little bird in your ear whispering to you that it was all a lie? There was for me, but for some reason, I wanted to believe it. I wanted to believe there was a tiger. I wanted to believe it because something told me the truth would be horrid. Beej
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, December 29, 2002 11:06 PM Nope. He sucked me in completely. It wasn't until the algae island that I stopped in my tracks and said whoa. R
From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 07:46 PM I still prefer to believe the tiger story. I can handle animals killing animals better than man killing man (and eating him.) I'm a sucker for believing what I read. I never suspect an unauthentic author. When Pi told his stories to the investigators, I still believed he threw in the "human" version because it would be more credible to them--it was what they wanted to hear and would accept. For the longest time I mulled over which ending was the "right" one. Now I know they both are. They are just different versions of Pi's reality. Anne
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, January 02, 2003 11:56 AM Interesting thoughts here. Anne, I was fascinated by your thoughts here about the two stories. I had never even thought to doubt that the "human" violent story was the "real" story. I took it as his confession...and hadn't even thought that he made that up to entertain the interviewers. Very interesting. All of these thoughts about fantasy and reality are provocative to me. I come from the camp that there is no separation between the supernatural and the material. It is only the hardcore devotees of religion along with the hardcore devotees of science that can not recognize the link between the spirit and the world.... and therefore Anne, you have opened my eyes to see that both stories are true in Pi, thank you.

 

 

Yann Martel

 
Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com