Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Our joint thoughts:
M: The main plot in Life of Pi is about a boy who gets shipwrecked and finds himself on a lifeboat with a tiger and some other animals with a sub-plot about religion and stories. This is all very beautifully, humorously and thoughtfully written.
Little M finished the novel before me. I had only read Part 1 before we saw the film. After seeing the film, I realised I had to make a choice between two stories. And I could only do that if I finished the book. So I did and I’m pleased. Life of Pi has prompted more discussions about fiction between Little M and me than any other novel yet.
|Life of Pi by Yann Martel|
M: I like books that are meaningful but funny. I liked Pi as a narrator because I found him very funny. That is surprising considering the story he is narrating.
Little M: I think this is a very thought provoking novel, it makes you think about religion and God. I didn't think about this when I was reading the book but when I started talking to M, she got me thinking about the religion and the God part of the book.
M: It was the aspects about religion that stood out most for me. In the first part of the novel Pi goes into great detail about his relationships and difficulties with a few religions. He questions what is really different about them. And for me that is what Life of Pi is about.
Little M: I agree with some of what you have said but I also think it is about a relationship with an animal too. The main aspect could be to do with God and religion but I think a sub-plot could be to do with a relationship between humans and animals.
M: The thing I liked the most about Life of Pi was that it was all about reliable narration, truths and story creations. Because of this, I could read part1, go and see the wonderful film, have a discussion, conclude multiple possibilities and then rush to finish the book. And then, still have lots and lots of discussion about what happened.
A discussion that started off about which story in the novel is ‘true’ soon became a discussion (and realisation) that authors can play games with their readers. This came about when Little M started to explain why she believed one story more. Yes, it was the story she liked more, but was it also because this story was more detailed? Yes. But why was it more detailed? Perhaps it is more detailed because this is the story that the fictional author, the writer who meets with adult Pi Patel, has chosen to write. Obviously, it was his preferred story too. In the case of Life of Pi, there is more than one author and narrator. Our discussion moved on to counting how many authors are involved with this piece of fiction. Enter Little M’s first knowing encounter with the unreliable narrator.
Little M: Life of Pi was the most challenging book I have read so far. A few years back, M would never have thought that I would read a Man Booker winner before her (I never knew there was this award). So this read was a great achievement for me and I think I will always remember this book.
If we had to dress up for World Book Day we would both go as Richard Parker. We will not tell you who Richard Parker is because that would be a bit of a spoiler.
Publication details: 2002, Canongate, Edinburgh (first published 2001, Alfred A Knopf, Canada)This copy: 2009 edition, our own