You would have noticed that it is always the stories with themes such as 'rags to riches' or 'victory of the good over evil' that reach the top and stay there, with the central theme being the age-old Darwin-ism theory—survival and that too only of the fittest. Life of Pi is a survival story. Not to mention the fact that with about three-fourth of the movies that are made are based on the man-woman relationship, it is the packaging and presentation that is taking the center stage. And though we have heard a thousand survival stories, yet Yann Martel has packaged it so well that you forget yourself and immerse in the same clichéd theme of the book.
Even though the Life of Pi is a fiction, somewhere in the first quarter of the book, Yann Martel makes you believe that it is a biography of someone (Pi) who was born in Pondicherry, India, grew up till his teens, with a zoo in his backyard, and with the political scene in India becoming unstable (the 1977 Emergency Declaration), the family along with a few animals that remained behind, after most of the zoo inhabitants being sold off, boards a Japanese cargo ship to Canada.
After this act of making you believe, all the action takes place in the 227 days that runs between the day the vegetarian Pi gets into the sea as a castaway in a 27-feet life-boat with a hungry, carnivorous, 450-pound Bengal Tiger and till the day he lands in Mexico, weather-beaten and in one piece. In these 227 days, there are times of delirium, dread, delight, discovery, deprivation, dilapidation, desperation, desolation, darkness, divine interventions, dinginess, and damnation. Pi who has lost everything, his kith and kin, overcomes everything and survives.
Moments of faith and belief are splashed at the right dose and the right time and it is this belief that makes you cling to the novel and move forward catching hold of the link one after another, but at a slow pace. During the times when you think the links are falling apart (you losing interest), it is this belief that bonds you together with the story.
At certain places, you get the idea that a few facts about the South-Indian culture are a bit incoherent (just 2% of the entire story telling). But, overall, this book is a great read, no doubt about it!!
The book ‘Life of Pi‘ is about 10 years old now. However, this fact does not stop from being reviewed or being recognized as a good read. There is much more that I picked from this piece of fiction, I mean, a lot of takeaways for the life of 'anyone'!