Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Really not sure how I feel about this one. I like the first third - looking at Pi growing up in southern India, living with a zoo keeper father, falling in love with religion and becoming a practising Christian, Muslim and Hindu (simultaneously). Nice insight, nice characterisation.

Then the shipwreck and all the animals on the lifeboat. I just didn't really want to hear about a hyena eating a zebra alive and a tiger killing an orangutan called Orange Juice. I know, I'm a total softy when it comes to animals... and the ending does explain the violence but... still not sure I wanted to read that. In fact, I ended up skimming the first few tens of pages of life in the lifeboat.

Then it did get fairly interesting - tiger taming at sea was always going to pose a challenge. But then we have the surreal algae island.... still not clear about what that acutally was. Nice image of sleeping up a tree surrounded by meer cats. But then, I like meer cats.

Actually the main thing that pissed me off was the ending. I'm getting a little fed up with books that use the 'it was all a dream' or 'he was barking mad' excuse to tie up fantastical storylines. Some books can pull it off - Ian McKewan's 'Atonement' a case in point - because it doesn't undermine the 'reality' of the storyline. But sorry Yann, I'd rather have had either a nasty frenchman from the start or stick with the marauding tiger - don't cheat me out of both.

No comments: