Saturday, February 28, 2009

Life of Pi

I just finished Life of Pi by Yann Martel. The beginning and the end were amazing. Getting through the middle was hard, but the ending made it all worth it. It was disarmingly funny, tragic, thought-provoking, sad, and beautiful. I highly recommend this book but only if you're looking for a bit more of a challenge. This is definitely not a fluff book.

One of the more interesting themes running through the book is irrational vs. rational. Pi is an irrational number and also the name of the protagonist. In the book he tries to reconcile science and faith. A conclusion he seems to come to is that you cannot explain the irrational with rational. I will not give anything away.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are as follows:

"I can well imagine an atheist's last words: "White, white! L-L-Love! My God!" and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, "Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain," and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story" (64).

"If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams" (XII).

"And what a story. The first thing that drew me in was disbelief. What? Humanity sins but it's God's Son who pays the price? I tried to imagine Father saying to me, 'Piscine, a lion slipped into the llama pen today and killed to llamas. Yesterday another one killed a black buck. Last week two of them ate the camel. The week before it was painted storks and grey herons. And who's to say for sure who snacked on our golden agouti? The situation has become intolerable. Something must be done. I have decided that the only way the lions can atone for their sins is if I feed you to them'" (53).

"I went to temple at crowded times when the Brahmins were too distracted to come between God and me" (71).

"How true it is that necessity is the mother of invention, how very true" (139).

"The voice said, 'I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. 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'"(148).

"Can there be any happiness greater than the happiness of salvation? The answer--believe me--is No" (234).

"In both stories the ship sinks, my entire family dies, and I suffer...So tell me, since it makes no factual difference to you and you can't prove the question either way, which story do you prefer? Which is the better story, the story with animals or the story without animals?" (317).

That is just a glimpse at the gems found in this book. Go pick up a copy and tell me what you think! Enjoy.

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