Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Life of Pi

I read Life of Pi more than 5 years ago, so I needed to refresh my memory before the BPYC Book Club discussed the book this evening.

Several others around the table were re-reading it as well, and it was interesting to see not just how people were responding to the book but the parts we had remembered (or forgotten) from the first round of reading.

Sometimes I think I should just take my top 50 books and re-read them for the rest of my life.  There is always something new to discover!

I had forgotten Pi's simultaneous conversion to Islam and Christianity, at the same time he was remaining a devout Hindu, and the hilarious scene when the pandit, imam and priest are all trying to convince Pi he must choose one path.  Pi refuses and continues his spiritually promiscuous ways.  His father is perplexed,  "..he said, 'Bapu Ghandhi said, "All religions are true?... the boy is getting to be on affectionate terms with Gandhi, what next?  Uncle Jesus?  And what's this.... Muslim?  It's totally foreign...."

Being able to hold contradictory views of the same reality is one of the main themes of the book, of course:

"So tell me, since it makes no factual difference to you and you can't prove the question either way, which story do you prefer?  Which is the better story, the story with the animals or the story without the animals?"

There is most certainly a liberal use of question marks in this book????

I am still pondering the author's introduction, and the claim that he has a story that will make you believe in God.

Here are some thoughts from the author, Yann Martel, about the role of the writer in today's society:

Robin also brought a really great bottle of red:  Santa Alicia Reserva Carmenere, Chilie $11.95.  General list at the LCBO, I think I will go pick up a few to have on hand.

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