Life of Pi

Sunny-Side-Up is a new weekly column celebrating clear blue skies, fancy bookmarks and the snooze button. In other words, expect book/film reviews, DIY crafts and easy recipes for a lovely weekend.

To be a castaway is to be a point perpetually at the centre of a circle. However much things may appear to change — the sea may shift from whisper to rage, the sky might go from fresh blue to blinding white to darkest black — the geometry never changes.

Life of Pi is the story of Piscine Patel, who found himself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean — stuck with a Bengal tiger on a lifeboat — after the ship he was traveling on had sunk along with his family and everything he had.

Sounds like a voyage of no return, right? … Not if you realize by now that since he lived to tell the tale, he must have survived.

When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival.

It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements couldn’t be more simpler, nor the stakes higher.

Raised in a zoo in Pondicherry, India, Pi applies his knowledge of zoology and animal instinct to help him outwit a hungry tiger. Being a polytheist, he also prays to God, Allah and a host of Hindu gods, seeking protection and strength — potentially controversial for any reading monotheist.

Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen every day. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.

No doubt the book is filled with fascinating nuggets of facts, but the long, torturous voyage was a tad too unrealistic and emotional for me.

I was not wounded in any part of my body, but I had never experienced such intense pain, such a ripping of the nerves, such an ache of the heart.


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