Life of Pi was the book I was rereading last week. I have to admit, since nine years had passed, I had forgotten much of the book. It surprised me that 100 pages, one third of the book, had passed before we even found ourselves on the lifeboat with Pi and Richard Parker.
My first reading was focused on plot; I wanted to know what happened next. It was Robinson Crusoe mixed with Aesop. This time, I found myself less focused on the logistics of survival and more interested in the story of faith. I thought a lot about The Old Man and the Sea while I was reading it, though this story is driven less by brutal determination and more by equal measures of assertion and humility.
Everybody I've ever met loved Pi. Almost everybody I know disliked the long-awaited follow-up Beatrice and Virgil (I didn't... see my post here). But, Pi is not a perfect book either. The allegory gets a bit heavy-handed at times. I had entirely forgotten the seaweed-meerkat island. But, yet again, I was seduced by the story, by Richard Parker, seduced enough to reject the tigerless version we're told at the end. And that surely is the genius of Pi.
Image credits: Life of Pi | Indian Spices - 8x10 Fine Art Print | Prayer mat | Yann Martel, photographed by Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images, via | Life boat plans | Extreme Survival Almanac | Whistle | Watercolor of a sea turtles