I'm not sure if writing this good inspires or discourages me. Depends on my mood likely. But I'm definitely impressed.
I was sitting outside the cafeteria at the Copper Queen hospital eating my lunch. I had the book laying on the table next to my tray and two people of the four or five who passed by commented, "Oh, I love that book," and "That's my favorite book." Wow. John, who was across the table from me was impressed too, more than he was when I tried to explain to him what it was about. The copy I have is borrowed. Mary Walker my good fellow-reader buddy, loaned it to me. But I'm think I'm going to want to own my own copy. It's that good.
Here's a quote on fear: "I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know it. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always." His whole Chapter 56 is on this topic. Most excellently put. So well that it might make you feel fearful.
It's my belief that if you can get past fear, your life will flow more easily past the rocky places. Teach yourself a new response. I use anger sometimes, it's not good either, but it's better than fear. I want to get to the response of non-judgemental assessment without fear or anger.
Here's a quote on faith: "Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love - but sometimes it was hard to love." Couldn't agree more.
The reading guide in the back of the book had this question(#7): "There is a lot of storytelling in this religious novel. Is there a relationship between religion and story telling? Is religion a form of storytelling? Is there a theological dimension in storytelling?" The questions aren't as interesting to me as the fact that the author is calling the story of Pi's adventure a "religious novel". Admittedly, Pi's three-fold religious beliefs; Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity, are touched on in more than one place, but for me the overall story is simply an adventure.
Here's a quote on wonder: " At moments of wonder, it is easy to avoid small thinking, to entertain thoughts that span the universe, that capture both thunder and tinkle, thick and thin, the near and the far." I had more than one moment of wonder as a reader of the Life of Pi and I had many moments of laughter too.
Is this Yann Martel's masterpiece? Time will tell. I believe it to be a masterpiece but there may be more than one in him yet. Let's hope so for our own sakes. Thank you Mary Walker.