It’ll be interesting to see how audiences who haven’t read Life of Pi, Yann Martel’s 2001 novel respond to director Ang Lee’s vision of the colorful tale. Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel is a twice-strangely-monikered, religiously insatiable 16-year-old Indian boy immigrating by freighter from Pondicherry to Canada with his parents, brother and the animal inhabitants of their family zoo who finds himself the sole human survivor of a shipwreck at sea.
The book is a rare hybrid: gripping survival thriller crossed with metaphysics and theology. That hybrid paid off in spades: it was both a runaway best-selling and massive award winner, starting with the Man Booker Prize in the UK. The story is bold and fantastical, yet as I remember it also dwelled for long, engaging stretches on the tedium and loneliness of sole survival at sea, with the world narrowed to Pi’s all-consuming counting of the cans of potable water and the packets of sea biscuits.
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