Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Life of Pi

By Yann Martel

I got this book for christmas last year, and I only got around to reading it last month. I've had this huge 'to-read' pile sitting in my bookshelf since last year, and I've only just got it down to a couple of books, and then I realise it's almost christmas again, which usually means lots more books for me.

Anyway, this one was a Booker prize winner. Ooooh, I feel litemarary. It's about an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck and ends up stranded on a lifeboat with a 450-pound tiger. You might think that two characters in a boat in the middle of the Pacific for months and months would be a fairly dull setup, but the author generates quite a bit of mileage out of it.

I was a little concerned that, being a literary prize winner, it'd be filled with all sorts of turgid symbolism and pretentious prose, but I found it a very easy agreeable read, as demonstrated by the fact that I read it in less than a day (of course, it was a day that involved 7 or 8 hours in airports and airplanes). There's a little bit of a twist at the end, which caused me to at first think 'Lame'. And then, 'Oh hang on, this relates back to all the stuff at the start...'. And then, 'Hey, cool, this book made me think!'. (Which goes to show what a sci-fi snob I am, being surprised that the kind of book that gets praised by the New York Times would have actually made me think.)

Anyway, pretty cool book. Short and breezy so it doesn't take too long to read. Completely unlike Neal Stephensons Baroque Trilogy, which I'll be writing about shortly.

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