"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Book Review - Life of Pi

My office's book discussion group "Great Readers of M..." will be discussing the Life of Pi by Yann Martel on Wednesday, January 31. Unfortunately, I will not be at the meeting because I will be basking in sunshine & playing golf in Ft. Myers, FL, visiting my parents next Wednesday through Sunday.

Really not sure how I feel about this book. I like the first third - looking at Pi growing up in southern India, living with a zoo keeper father, falling in love with religion and becoming a practicing Christian, Muslim and Hindu (simultaneously). Nice insight, nice characterization.

Then the shipwreck and all the animals on the lifeboat. I just didn't really want to hear about a hyena eating a zebra alive and a tiger killing an orangutan called Orange Juice. I know, I'm a total softy when it comes to animals... and the ending does explain the violence but... still not sure I wanted to read that.

In fact, I ended up skimming the first few tens of pages of life in the lifeboat.Then it did get fairly interesting - tiger taming at sea was always going to pose a challenge. But then we have the surreal algae island.... still not clear about what that actually was. Nice image of sleeping up a tree surrounded by meerkats. But then, I like meerkats.

Actually the main thing that pissed me off was the ending. I'm getting a little fed up with books that use the 'it was all a dream' or 'he was barking mad' excuse to tie up fantastical storylines. Some books can pull it off because it doesn't undermine the 'reality' of the storyline. However, the ending was somehow predictable in that the author was hurried to explain away the novel by having Pi delirious and confused so much so that he made up the entire fantastic journey.

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