09 September 2008

Book Review: Life of Pi

An interesting story about trial through adversity. The story was reasonably good, but didn't particularly grab me and make me want to keep reading. I suspect this would've been a much more compelling tale if it had been told from the point of view of the tiger, and would've allowed the commentary on religion and the human condition to be somewhat less forced.

The story had a sort of disjointed episodic feel to it which came on rather quickly after the initial bit of character introduction. My mind is not yet made up on whether this style of storytelling helped relay the descent into madness from being trapped at sea. It would have worked better for me as a literary device if it had been used a bit more subtly. As it is, it seemed unintentionally scatterbrained.

For all the review commentary I read ahead of time about the religious message in this novel, it seemed tacked on in a very forced sort of way. The protagonist was confused about what to believe, tried to believe in everything in the same time, but largely just stood in awe of nature before him and the lucky breaks he got every now and again. The awe and luck was attributed to any random belief system that seemed to best fit the moment. And when there wasn't anything interesting going on this aspect was completely forgotten.

The questions about predestiny and what kind of benevolent god(s) kill your parents, dozens of innocent people and animals and leaves you alone on a liferaft with a carnivore were left largely unaddressed. In the end, the book left me wanting with its undirected episodic nature and failure to ask hard questions that might scare off some readers.

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