Monday, December 31, 2012

reads #11: november 2012

Life of Pi (Yann Martel, 2001)
I'm not really one for contemporary literature (Murakami aside, who wrote on the subject: If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone is thinking), but I got confused with this one. I took it in a charity shop because I thought it was connected with Pi, which is one of my friend's favourite movies. I realised I made a mistake when the back cover revealed a plot about tigers and shipwrecks. I put it at the top of my shelves and sort of forgot about it.
I was reminded of its looming presence in my bedroom by the release of the trailers for the film adaptation. It  looked pretty enough that I decided to read it in time for its cinema release.
Well, let's just say as a preamble that it didn't entice me to pick up more of our contemporary literature. I found the writing style quite bland, very much what I imagined airport literature to be like. And I don't think that the story saved it that much. It gave me the impression that the book was pretending to be something it wasn't most of the time.
Life of Pi is the story of a young boy stranded on a boat with a bengal tiger after the ship he was sailing on with his family wrecked. That's more or less the pitch of the book I guess.
This book annoyed me on so many levels, but mainly it's the claim that this story will make you believe in god that irked me. Which not only it doesn't if you ask me but actually feels like reverse preaching and it's hard to make my point clear without revealing the end.
The book is divided in three parts: the first one is an introduction to the character Pi. It's very slow and is supposed to be about spirituality, but it felt more to me like a primary school textbook on religions. I'm going to assume it is because of the young age of the protagonist...
The second part of the story happens at sea, on the boat, with the tiger.
And in the third part, Yann Martel throws what is for me a cheap trick at the end, powder to the eyes, veiled as food for thought to cover the average quality of the book. The good old twist that doesn't quite sow everything together.
If the book only consisted of the middle section, I think it would have been a good adventure book in its own respect and that's why I decided to go to see the movie anyway. I would recommend it over the book (probably the only time you will hear me say that). The imagery is spectacular and the spiritual stuff is kept to a minimum and more importantly doesn't come off as patronising. Watching the film knowing the end still makes me think that all is not very tied in together, but it's not as offensive on screen.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...