Life of Pi: Book Review

7.0 – Imagination


It is the journey of a young Indian boy drifting across the people-less Pacific ocean with his giant Bengal companion. A boat, oars and a handful of survival kits were all that on the story line:  no pale vampire or beautiful girl. It is a story audaciously claiming that “it will make you believe in God”. Although the book didn’t help me to establish that divine connection, I really enjoyed its unique storytelling.

The family packed their belongings and animals on the ship, heading to start their life anew on the other side of pacific ocean – sun was bright, sea was calm and animals were sedated. Then one fine day morning, he found that his life dangled on one lifeboat of the wrecked ship in the middle of a featureless ocean, and he was not alone. In the next couple of days it was a microscopic and fast forward show of Darwin’s famed theory – the fittest survive. Unfortunately, the young boy was not on the top of the food chain. Soon even to be able to sit in the boat has become a rare luxury.

He tried very hard to survive, for himself as well as, paradoxically, his potential predator. Months of subsistence has stripped him naked physically as well as mentally.  Hungry, loneliness, thirst, wild hallucination, the special bonding between the boy and Richard Parker stitched a fascinating, thoughtful read about survival, life and belief. Suddenly I realized that the simple necessities of drinking water, eat food and a good bed deserve more gratitude.

“life is hard to believe, ask any scientist; love is hard to believe, ask any lover; god is hard to believe, ask any believer”

I still don’t pray to God; I can hardly imagine myself survive a mere 100 hours in the sea; I don’t think I want to try any of the cuisines mentioned in the book or to be a tour guide in a zoo; But I learnt how tasteless life can be without imagination. I am not surprised that the book has been rejected by so many prominent publishing houses. Saving the last few pages where he made so much fun of the Japanese investigator, the story line is heavy.

It is still an enjoyable read nevertheless.


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