inventing a story or telling lies?

September 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

life if pi by yann martedi finished the life of pi by yann martel a month ago, every time i decided to write something about it, i got stuck in the ‘so, what was it really about?’ state and procrastinate. i still don’t know how to interpret the book but i try writing something anyway.

i believe you can read the book hundred times and each time get a new idea. however, the book is very hard to read even twice because of its lengthy descriptive passages and in my opinion unrelated stuffs such as list of survival tips on a lifeboat, detailed zoological references, etc. (to be honest, i skipped a few of these overly emphasized paragraphs here and there) although i think those were there to fill the scientific portion of the book in order to show balance between its scientific and spiritual perspectives.

anyways, the book is about an indian boy who is interested in the core of most religions, god, and tries different paths of different religions to approach it. he is a son of a zoo keeper and has a lot of zoological hands-on experiences. past the few introductory first chapters, the story takes its major turn when he and his family emigrate to canada with a japanese ship. the ship sank and the boy is allegedly the sole survivor of the incident when he reaches to mexico after more than 200 days in a lifeboat with a tiger!

throughout this seem-to-be-simple story of survival, the reader goes through a lot of happenings. the story is told in first person form, by an adult person who is telling his life story using his childhood memories, which are now mixed with his adulthood believes (confusing, isn’t it?). underneath the simple story is a vast ocean of ideological, philosophical, spiritual and psychological hints that come in riddle form and need a puzzle solving mind to unravel them. reality and imaginations are so intertwined that the reader has to decide one by one as to which is which.

the best part of the book in my opinion is towards the end of the book, in the later chapters when pi is explaining his story to japanese maritime minister. the reader is in for a surprise, a huge turn that makes you question your whole understanding of the book, makes you review or even read the book again, just to be at peace with your mind. it has a deep philosophical essence which i relate it to hermeneutics. something very close to “big fish” or “the fall” movies, as the writer says, it’s all about how you like  to hear a story with animals better than one without. the dilemma of believing your past days being your best days or feeling bad about every minute of your life. positive versus negative perspective. you want to call it lying, you want to call it inventing, the writer’s idea is:

isn’t telling about something – using words – already something of an invention?


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