rating: 3 of 5 stars
(this review contains spoilers, but doesn't reveal all of this books twists...)
The first part of this book made me want to stop the tape (my version was a 7-tape audiobook selected for a 5-hour drive) but, as I was stuck in construction traffic, I decided to bear with it. Slowgoing for probably the first third of the novel, with a surprise and rather odd turn into the merits of the christian, islam and hindu religions, altogether, the enthralling part of the book starts with the progragonist, Pi, nearly drowning in a shipwreck while on his way from Pondicherry, a small nation near India, to a new home with his family in Canada. (Wow, that was quite a run-on sentence).
Pi, 16, is marooned on a 26-foot lifeboat with a 450-pound Bengal tiger, no less. How they could sustain themselves without killing each other or succumbing to death for the better part of a year is nothing less than riveting. When their travels bring them to a carniverous floating algae island inhabited by meerkats...well, that's where I started to doubt the reliability of the narrator. But, what imagination!
It was a letdown when Pi finally came aground in Mexico, with the tiger presumably running off into the wilds never to be seen again. He is debriefed by some foreign visitors who want to know why the ship sank, and they simply don't believe his tale. So he gives them another, sadder yet more plausible version. And suddenly the sea doesn't seem so pure and blue anymore.
So now I'm puzzling over how this book is supposed to affirm one's belief in God. Because Pi could survive at sea, presumably alone, for 7 months, and retain his wits for the most part, and later find love and have kids and a normal life?
It's a worthwhile tale, though I'm not sure now having read it through how enjoyable it was. I really dig the cover art, though...
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