Life of pi book critics

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life of pi book critics

James Wood reviews ‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel · LRB 14 November

Literature and literary criticism , Fiction , Novels. Doubtless, people will choose to read it insofar as they can tolerate this premise. And the reduction of the novel to its magic realist challenge would not be unfair, since the book is constituted of little other than this singular story, and moreover is explicitly — that is to say, theoretically — about the inevitability of the magical in storytelling. Of course, in a proper paradox, this magical story is made plausible, and vivid and dramatic, only by the careful application of conventional realist techniques. If we do indeed come to believe this story of survival, if we hardly ever feel that our credulity is being taken for a reckless voyage, it is because Martel patiently builds his narrative case: ensuring that no detail is too tiny for examination; quietly folding in a vast amount of research largely zoological and botanical ; taking care to observe the laws of physics and the natural world; and generally grounding his watery tale in the loam of the likely. He reminds us in fact that realism is already magical, an artifice-in-waiting.
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Life Of Pi Summary by Shmoop

In the author's note that prefaces this vertiginously tall tale, Yann Martel blends fact and fiction with wily charm. Yes, he'd published two books that failed to shake the world - eager, studious-young-man's fiction with a strain of self-conscious experimentalism - and taken off to India nursing the faltering seeds of another.

Life of Pi

It sounds suspiciously like the setup of a joke, something you might hear at a tavern from the guy who's been downing gimlets all night. But ''Life of Pi,'' the Canadian writer Yann Martel's extraordinary novel based on this very premise, is hardly your average barroom gag. Granted, it may not qualify as ''a story that will make you believe in God,'' as one character describes it. But it could renew your faith in the ability of novelists to invest even the most outrageous scenario with plausible life -- although sticklers for literal realism, poor souls, will find much to carp at. For one thing, the Hindu, the Muslim and the Christian are all the same person -- Pi Patel, an amiable Indian teenager who sees no reason why he can't practice three religions at once.

In the author's note that prefaces this vertiginously tall tale, Yann Martel blends fact and fiction with wily charm. We learn much about animal behaviour - flight distances, aggression, social hierarchy - which is later translated to Pi's survival tactics on the lifeboat.
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Adulfo O. says:

    If you feel stories involving animals are a thing for children, reconsider your opinion.

  2. Taiscambota says:

    Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

  3. Eglantine P. says:

    Life of Pi by Yann Martel - Review | Indian Book Critics

  4. Melissa R. says:

    It is the most gripping tale that I have ever read.

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