Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Life of Pi

This is a review of an old favorite, rather than a book I have just read.  This book definitely goes on my top ten list of books.  Life of Pi came out several years ago, and many people have kind of forgotten about how good it was.  I however, still think about it quite fondly and was just thinking the other day that I need to get it out and read it again.

Life of Pi is the story of an Indian boy, Piscine Patel.  The story is told by a much older Pi, now living in North America, to a young man who wants to write a book.   Pi's family, originally from India, moves to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship.  Pi is the son of a zookeeper and so, along with his family, come all of the zoo animals.  One fateful night, the ship that the Patels are on sinks in a storm, killing everybody except for Pi, a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra and, most frightening of all, a 450 pound Bengal tiger.  Now all four very different species have to figure out how to survive on a small life boat in the middle of the ocean.

Quickly, the tiger kills the wounded zebra, then the orangutan, and then the hyena.  This leaves Pi and the tiger to decide who is going to survive.  Both manage to survive together until they reach Mexico, where Richard Parker, the tiger, disappears into the jungle and nobody ever finds him again.  Pi, wounded and very thin, is recuperating in a hospital when Japanese officials come to his bedside to hear the truth about what happened.  Pi recounts his story to the officials, but nobody believes him.  Finally, he comes up with a much more ordinary story and tells it, pleasing the officials.  "Now, which story do you prefer?"he asks in closing to the young man writing the story.

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