Life of Pi“It’s not pronounced ‘Pee’; it’s ‘Pie'”, my wife corrected me. “‘Life of Pie‘”.

This book truly deserved the Man Booker prize. It’s not an easy book to classify, but I’d go with “Humourous Philosophical Fiction”, as it would make you think and ponder. And funny to boot. The intro by the author already intrigued me. A story that will make me believe in God. Hmm.

Told from the viewpoint of Pi, Piscine Molitor Patel in full. Imagine growing up with a name like. Which in Chpt 5 the protagonist explains how his name was made fun of, and how he managed to get everyone to call him by his nickname ‘Pi’ (as in Pi = 3.14, the ? Of a circle) which I found hilarious.

You can’t help but like this kid, Piscine. His attitude towards religion, sense of the world. There is an spirited innonence to it. I wouldn’t call
him naïve.

I found this story to be about human courage and survival. Of mental tenacity. Our need for a goal in life. Any goal it seems. And to be able to
express love for something other than ourselves. That seems to be the key to survival.

Chpt 81, p225: the part where he described himself as about eating like an animal. In essence, we humans are all animals. When we strip away all the layers of learned social norms and behaviours, we find our base instincts no different from any other lifeforms on Earth. It’s also a story about guilt, & redemption.

Chpt 95 onwards – Pi shares two versions of the story. Which ones would the Japanese officials believe?

Chpt 8 – on man being the most dangerous animal, and cruelty to zoo animals (are they true? Really such cases?). And their father’s “lesson” in the danger of wild beasts (reminds me of the advice in SA travel guide!)

Chpt 9 p40 – singapore zoo mentioned (implied as world-class)

Chpt 16 – 29: on his encounters and embracing Christianity, Hinduism, Islam. Simulataneous encounters with all 3 religious elders & arguments about whether a person can adopt & worship all 3 religions at the same time. “Bapuji Gandhi said all religions are true. I just want to love God” p69.

Chpt 31, p 84. Last few lines of the chapt, where the two Mr. Kumars stood side by side, each expressing his appreciation of the animals differently (one called the zebra by the scientific name while the other thanked god. There’s a subtle message here: how a man of science & a man of god can both see the same thing, view it differently, and still be happy and not beat each other’s brains about it. They didn’t try to impose their values on others. Perhaps that’s the key to peace.

Chpt 36, p 93 “This story has a happy ending” as if to assure us that what follows in next chapter is going to suggest otherwise.

Chpt 60, p177 – on perspectives: “my suffering was finite, insignificant”

Chpt 71, p202: instructions on how to tame Richard Parker — subtly funny. And who’s Richard Parker? You’ll have to find out.

Chapter 96 – 100. A bit of a rambling but it builds up to the part where Pi shares a second, and much more concise, story of what might have really happened. Which story did the Japanese officials believe in the end? The one with the Animals or the one without? Why did Pi come up with two stories? Why did he thank the Japanese official, Mr. Okamoto, after the Japanese replied that he liked the story with the animals better? And why did he add, “And so it goes with God.” In the end, why did the Japanese officials submit the version with the animals?