The title of this book had confused me completely. I was thinking that this book is somehow the history about mathematical number Pi but when I read the description on the back of the book, I was surprised. The description was interesting enough for me to pick up the book. The first thing to figure out was the story of name “Pi” and that was interesting enough. I was also interested that the story started in Pondicherry which had been a French colony and the culture of this region is strange mix of French and very traditional Tamil culture.
“The Life of Pi” moves quickly from Pondicherry to Canada and then the actual shipwreck that results in Pi stranded on a life boat with Royal Bengal Tiger, Hyena, Zebra and Orangutan. I was really surprised by mixture of symbolism and the usage of characters by the author Yann Martel in this book. What happens on the life boat is really amazing. Hyena kills Zebra and Orangutan but then Tiger kills Hyena. It leaves Pi with Tiger but they both survive the long ordeal and Tiger does not kill Pi.
I liked the general story of the book and the way it moved but unfortunately I was not able to get to the root of supposedly larger significance. In the end the story left me a bit confused as well. You really start to wonder whether such a thing can possibly happen. Is it possible that Pi was alone on the boat and went through a series of hallucinations due to hunger and thirst and that resulted in this kind of story. Is it his attempt to show himself as alpha male that he survived a long journey with Tiger. As it happens with many such books which win many literary awards, I failed to see the significance. But as I have realized time and again, maybe I was not reading in the right mood.