Yann Martel tells the story of a castaway who spends more than 220 days stranded on a lifeboat drifting in the Pacific Ocean. Can a story of castaway keep us glued to the book? The answer is yes because Pi has companions. But they aren't humans, they are animals. Soon, the number of reduces gradually and Pi is only left with a Bengal Tiger. What happens on the lifeboat between the predator and prey is told in the rest of the pages.
Told in three parts - before, during and after the life as a castaway - and in first person narrative, the novel throws a thought provoking look at the harmony of life and perservarance of human spirit. We are all built differently. So naturally, there is an immediate hostility among all the occupants in the life boat. There is a urgency of survival when the overall number drops to two with only Pi and the Bengal tiger. Having worked in a zoo proves a blessing in disguise for Pi. The human spirit prevails. Pi is able to conquer the animal psychologically and soon come to peace with the beast. On a different level, the novel is also an inside look into the psyche of man.
I like books in the first person narrative. It puts you in the shoes of the protagonist. The language is easy to understand even though some of Pi's thoughts are absurd. This is justified as Pi is an young boy. Towards the end of castaway days, Pi starts hallucinating and crosses between real and unreal world. This is where the novel becomes heavy.
This book will emotionally drain you. It will also make you think about life and choices. Be ready for it if you are picking this one up.
Tags: Books,Yann Martel