Life of Pi Book Review
“This is a story that will make you believe in God.”
Or so we are warned, over espresso at Indian Coffee House, in the town of Pondicherry. An older man approaches and promises to share a tale so extraordinary, the unimaginable will become exceptional. Expectations are set for a typical man-befriends-beast novel of heartwarming, and award-winning, proportion.
But this is also a story that will besiege your expectations, wearing away at your preconceptions until the very book you read transforms from non-fiction to gospel truth. When the ship carrying Pi’s family and a zoological collection of animals sinks in the Pacific Ocean, the only survivors are Pi, an injured zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a 450-pound Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker.
For over 200 days, humanity and the existence of a higher being are called into question. Is there a god? Can he see Pi and Richard on their tarpaulin-covered lifeboat, in the middle of the sea? Who hears Pi’s prayers for death, for food, for one
What really happens in the Life of Pi remains unanswered even after the final paragraph is finished. Writing this, I find myself wondering: Did all that really happen? Or was I merely pulled into the waves by an incredibly intriguing, well-
written tall tale?
“So you want another story?”
“Uhh…no. We would like to know what really happened.”
“Doesn’t the telling of something always become a story?”
Perhaps the moral of Pi’s epic journey is not what we believe in, but that we choose to believe at all.