Life of Pi is a truly brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable novel. I do not read a lot of contemporary fiction---due to a leaning toward non-fiction and a fascination for the classics---but I am going to have to start. I think I underestimated the authors of today. I'd hate to be missing the future classics at their birth.
The Life of Pi is about a boy named Piscine Molitor, the son of a zookeeper in Pondicherry, India, who sets across the ocean with his family only to end up in---well, you have to read it to believe it. The first half of the book is about his childhood, and the rest is this almost mythological tale of his high-seas adventures.
Yann Martel exhibits an almost paradoxical writing style: It is matter-of-fact fantasty, it is playful and gripping, and is a brightfully told account of a devestating tale. I have since turned my summer-reading attention to The Kite Runner, a highly acclaimed novel in its own right---but have had a hard time shifting gears. Martel's book is so wonderful I just can't leave its world for another easily.
I kept waiting for the action in this novel to pick up, but by the time part one was over, I was sad to see it ending. Following young Pi around his father's zoo and through his spiritual journey into Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity (I told you it was a fantasy) was just mesmorizing. There are plenty of innocently provocative lines, such as the following, one of my favourites:
"I know zoos are no longer in people's good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both."
The reviews on the cover of Yann Martel's novel give it high praise. But this is usually the case on a book jacket isn't it? I'd also had this recommended to me by several people. But it just took me a while to get around to it. I am kicking myself for having waited so long. I haven't enjoyed fiction reading so thoroughly since Tolkein's Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis' space trilogy.