September 9, 2012

[Books] Life of 3.14159

I love reading. It is not only that I enjoy a good book from time to time, but rather I cannot live my life without reading. I am fully aware that I am not special in my feeling this way and that this is far from being an original thought, yet the truth, however unoriginal it may be, remains. I not only enjoy the story portrayed in a book, but also the style of the writing. For me it is like travelling and I am a traveler – a small one, truth be told, but a traveler nonetheless. A traveler cannot but love reading and a reader cannot but love travelling, so when I discovered Life of Pi I was immersed in a total feeling of happiness (I feel a small note is necessary at this point. This book was recommended to me by Tudor, one of my best friends. You cannot begin to imagine the pleasure I feel when I discover good books, good movies, good music, good food, good… anything with the help of my friends. It brings me great joy not only because it is “good”… whatever that is {books, food, shoes, music, theatre plays}, but also because I see it as a gift they have so generously made to me and, also, a window into their souls that they have trusted me to peep into. But I digress, as I usually do.)

Life of Pi is the most beautiful book I have ever read. Sounds so unsophisticated, I know. So childish and simple, but that is the best way I can describe this book. The use of the word “unsophisticated” in describing this book must not, however, be understood in the sense that this is the style of the writing, because nothing can be further from the truth. The book is written with language both delicate and sturdy. Words are to Yann Martel like delicious, exotic and never before heard of foods with which he feeds his readers and you come out of this feast satisfied and, yet, wanting more. I must admit there were some words I did not know and I did consult an English dictionary more than I thought I would, but, after a while, my trust in Petru’s (my best friend. You may remember him from my post about Lisbon) knowledge in the English language was rewarded. He is as good as an iPhone with internet connection (which is the only kind of iPhone I consider useful). But, again, I managed to drift off.
Back to the book. The imagination of Yann Martel is like the Pacific Ocean of which he speaks in the book: endless. It is, after all, the world’s largest body of water.

Now… I consider myself a mildly creative person, but nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. Animals and plants of which I have never heard of, feelings and religion seen from a new perspective, moments of wonder entertaining thoughts that span the universe. I wish I could describe this book better, not as I saw it, which I might manage, but as it made me feel.
At a first glance, the book is a fantasy adventure book about an Indian boy from Podincherry, named Pi, a zookeeper’s son who, at one point, finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean together with a hyena, zebra, orangutan and a Bengal tiger.
But on a deeper level (oddly enough you don’t have to dig that deep to reach that level), the book is about empathy; about fear and religion; about humans and animals; about love, life and death; about determination; about the mystery of the earth, the sea and the sky; about the animals within us and about the humanity within the animals; about kindness and cruelty; about the loss of someone dear; about respect; about loneliness and hope, as well as hopelessness; about bitterness and about time, grief, ache and endurance; about companionship; about botched farewells; about how it is important in life to conclude things properly; about the long, hard corridors we have to walk down in our lifetimes; about how the lower you are the higher your mind would want to soar; about the way we cling to our evils; about selfishness, anger, ruthlessness… and about the art of storytelling. It brings you joy and heart wrenching sadness, it makes you laugh as well as cry, it makes you pause with wonder and it makes you quench with disgust. Yann Martel’s Life of Pi wears its heart on its sleeve.
I cannot wait for the movie.

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