Is that a tiger in your lifeboat or are you just happy to see me? Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, is a classic, blockbuster, prize-winning, internationally renowned book that came out a decade ago. So why am I reviewing it? To answer the question “Should I read this book?”

“The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn’t that make life a story?”

Life of Pi, Yann Martel

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, is a classic, blockbuster, prize-winning, internationally renowned book that came out a decade ago. So why am I reviewing it? To answer the question “Should I read this book?”

I, like a few other souls out there, had not read this book when it first came out. This was for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that the longer I went without reading it, the firmer I had an idea of what the book “was” in my mind. I’d heard enough people, mostly those who didn’t like it, say things like “oh, the entire thing is about some kid and a talking tiger in a rowboat.” Sounded boring, and pretentious, and capital-w Writerly to me, so I took a pass. But with the upcoming film release (which I review here), coupled with the fact that I quite liked Martel’s Beatrice & Virgil, I decided this summer that it was time to give Life of Pi a try.

Continue reading “Is that a tiger in your lifeboat or are you just happy to see me? Life of Pi, by Yann Martel”

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Multimedia Monday: The dreamy, terrifying world of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi movie review

Starring Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Rafe Spall, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Shravanthi Sainath, Vibish Sivakumar, and Gérard Depardieu.

Opening November 21st, 2012

Read the review of Life of Pi, the novel, here.

Certain books are considered unadaptable to film.  Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, always been one of them. Two thirds of the book take place in a lifeboat, after all, following the survival of young Pi Patel and the tiger he is trapped with after a shipwreck claims the lives of his entire family and a host of zoo animals. Taking on the Everestian challenge to adapt the book because it is there to be adapted is director Ang Lee, possessed of remarkable vision and intuitive grasp of the nature and importance of storytelling. And what an incredible story he tells.

Lee maintains the novel’s narrative framework, introducing a nameless writer (Martel himself, in the book) who has been trying (and failing) to write a novel in India. He arrives at the home of Pi Patel on the advice of a friend he made in Pondicherry: if the writer wants a story, the friend promises that his nephew in Montreal has one that will make the writer believe in God. As Pi fixes lunch, he tells his tale. He begins with the origin of his name, adventures from his childhood, his growing fascination with world religions, and life as the youngest son of a zookeeper.

Continue reading “Multimedia Monday: The dreamy, terrifying world of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi movie review”