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Life of Pi (Illustrated): Deluxe Illustrated Edition

Life of Pi (Illustrated): Deluxe Illustrated Edition

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Life of Pi (Illustrated): Deluxe Illustrated Edition

evaluări:
4/5 (682 evaluări)
Lungime:
466 pages
7 hours
Lansat:
Feb 1, 2007
ISBN:
9780156035811
Format:
Carte

Descriere

“Will the tiger be menacing; will the ocean be threatening; will the island be something out of Frankenstein or will it be an Eden?”—Yann Martel

Life of Pi, first published in 2002, became an international bestseller and remains one of the most extraordinary and popular works of contemporary fiction.

In 2005 an international competition was held to find the perfect artist to illustrate Yann Martel’s Man Booker Prize–winning novel. From thousands of entrants, Croatian artist Tomislav Torjanac was chosen. This lavishly produced edition features forty of Torjanac’s beautiful four-color illustrations, bringing Life of Pi to splendid, eye-popping life.

Tomislav Torjanac says of his illustrations: “My vision of the illustrated edition of Life of Pi is based on paintings from a first person’s perspective—Pi’s perspective. The interpretation of what Pi sees is intermeshed with what he feels and it is shown through [the] use of colors, perspective, symbols, hand gestures, etc.”

Lansat:
Feb 1, 2007
ISBN:
9780156035811
Format:
Carte

Despre autor

Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 of Canadian parents. Life of Pi won the 2002 Man Booker Prize and has been translated into more than forty languages. A #1 New York Times bestseller, it spent 104 weeks on the list and was adapted to the screen by Ang Lee. He is also the author of the novels Beatrice and Virgil and Self, the collection of stories The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, and a collection of letters to the prime minister of Canada, 101 Letters to a Prime Minister. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.


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  • Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud.

  • To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.

  • 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.

  • I have nothing to say of my working life, only that a tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, it will hang a man nonetheless if he’s not careful.

  • Socially inferior animals are the ones that make the most strenuous, resourceful efforts to get to know their keepers. They prove to be the ones most faithful to them, most in need of their company, least likely to challenge them or be difficult.

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Life of Pi (Illustrated) - Yann Martel

Pondicherry

Chapter 1

My suffering left me sad and gloomy.

Academic study and the steady mindful practice of religion slowly brought me back to life. I have kept up what some people would consider my strange religious practices. After one year of high school, I attended the University of Toronto and took a double-major Bachelor’s degree. My majors were religious studies and zoology My fourth-year thesis for religious studies concerned certain aspects of the cosmogony theory of Isaac Luria, the great sixteenth-century Kabbalist from Safed. My zoology thesis was a functional analysis of the thyroid gland of the three-toed sloth. I chose the sloth because its demeanour—calm, quiet and introspective—did something to soothe my shattered self.

There are two-toed sloths and there are three-toed sloths, the case being determined by the forepaws of the animals, since all sloths have three claws on their hind paws. I had the great luck one summer of studying the three-toed sloth in situ in the equatorial jungles of Brazil. It is a highly intriguing creature. Its only real habit is indolence. It sleeps or rests on average twenty hours a day. Our team tested the sleep habits of five wild three-toed sloths by placing on their heads, in the early evening after they had fallen asleep, bright red plastic dishes filled with water. We found them still in place late the next morning, the water of the dishes swarming with insects. The sloth is at its busiest at sunset, using the word busy here in the most relaxed sense. It moves along the bough of a tree in its characteristic upside-down position at the speed of roughly 400 metres an hour. On the ground, it crawls to its next tree at the rate of 250 metres an hour, when motivated, which is 440 times slower than a motivated cheetah. Unmotivated, it covers four to five metres in an hour.

I had the great luck one summer of studying the three-toed sloth in situ in the equatorial jungles of Brazil.

The three-toed sloth is not well informed about the outside world. On a scale of 2 to 10, where 2 represents unusual dullness and 10 extreme acuity, Beebe (1926) gave the sloth’s senses of taste, touch, sight and hearing a rating of 2, and its sense of smell a rating of 3. If you come upon a sleeping three-toed sloth in the wild, two or three nudges should suffice to awaken it; it will then look sleepily in every direction but yours. Why it should look about is uncertain since the sloth sees everything in a Magoo-like blur. As for hearing, the sloth is not so much deaf as uninterested in sound. Beebe reported that firing guns next to sleeping or feeding sloths elicited little reaction. And the sloth’s slightly better sense of smell should not be overestimated. They are said to be able to sniff and avoid decayed branches, but Bullock (1968) reported that sloths fall to the ground clinging to decayed branches often.

How does it survive, you might ask.

Precisely by being so slow. Sleepiness and slothfulness keep it out of harm’s way, away from the notice of jaguars, ocelots, harpy eagles and anacondas. A sloth’s hairs shelter an algae that is brown during the dry season and green during the wet season, so the animal blends in with the surrounding moss and foliage and looks like a nest of white ants or of squirrels, or like nothing at all but part of a tree.

The three-toed sloth lives a peaceful, vegetarian life in perfect harmony with its environment. A good-natured smile is forever on its lips, reported Tirler (1966). I have seen that smile with my own eyes. I am not one given to projecting human traits and emotions onto animals, but many a time during that month in Brazil, looking up at sloths in repose, I felt I was in the presence of upside-down yogis deep in meditation or hermits deep in prayer, wise beings whose intense imaginative lives were beyond the reach of my scientific probing.

Sometimes I got my majors mixed up. A number of my fellow religious-studies students—muddled agnostics who didn’t know which way was up, who were in the thrall of reason, that fool’s gold for the bright—reminded me of the three-toed sloth; and the three-toed sloth, such a beautiful example of the miracle of life, reminded me of God.

I never had problems with my fellow scientists. Scientists are a friendly, atheistic, hard-working, beer-drinking lot whose minds are preoccupied with sex, chess and baseball when they are not preoccupied with science.

I was a very good student, if I may say so myself. I was tops at St. Michael’s College four years in a row. I got every possible student award from the Department of Zoology. If I got none from the Department of Religious Studies, it is simply because there are no student awards in this department (the rewards of religious study are not in mortal hands, we all know that). I would have received the Governor Generals Academic Medal, the University of Toronto’s highest undergraduate award, of which no small number of illustrious Canadians have been recipients, were it not for a beef-eating pink boy with a neck like a tree trunk and a temperament of unbearable good cheer.

I still smart a little at the slight. When you’ve suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling. My life is like a memento mori painting from European art: there is always a grinning skull at my side to remind me of the folly of human ambition. I mock this skull. I look at it and I say, You’ve got the wrong fellow. You may not believe in life, but I don’t believe in death. Move on! The skull snickers and moves ever closer, but that doesn’t surprise me. The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity—it’s envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud. The pink boy also got the nod from the Rhodes Scholarship committee. I love him and I hope his time at Oxford was a rich experience. If Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, one day favours me bountifully, Oxford is fifth on the list of cities I would like to visit before I pass on, after Mecca, Varanasi, Jerusalem and Paris.

I have nothing to say of my working life, only that a tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, it will hang a man nonetheless if he’s not careful.

I love Canada. I miss the heat of India, the food, the house lizards on the walls, the musicals on the silver screen, the cows wandering the streets, the crows cawing, even the talk of cricket matches, but I love Canada. It is a great country much too cold for good sense, inhabited by compassionate, intelligent people with bad hairdos. Anyway, I have nothing to go home to in Pondicherry.

Richard Parker has stayed with me. I’ve never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.

The doctors and nurses at the hospital in Mexico were incredibly kind to me. And the patients, too. Victims of cancer or car accidents, once they heard my story, they hobbled and wheeled over to see me, they and their families, though none of them spoke English and I spoke no Spanish. They smiled at me, shook my hand, patted me on the head, left gifts of food and clothing on my bed. They moved me to uncontrollable fits of laughing and crying.

Within a couple of days I could stand, even make two, three steps, despite nausea, dizziness and general weakness. Blood tests revealed that I was anemic, and that my level of sodium was very high and my potassium low. My body retained fluids and my legs swelled up tremendously. I looked as if I had been grafted with a pair of elephant legs. My urine was a deep, dark yellow going on to brown. After a week or so, I could walk just about normally and I could wear shoes if I didn’t lace them up. My skin healed, though I still have scars on my shoulders and back.

The first time I turned a tap on, its noisy, wasteful, superabundant gush was such a shock that I became incoherent and my legs collapsed beneath me and I fainted in the arms of a nurse.

The first time I went to an Indian restaurant in Canada I used my fingers. The waiter looked at me critically and said, Fresh off the boat, are you? I blanched. My fingers, which a second before had been taste buds savouring the food a little ahead of my mouth, became dirty under his gaze. They froze like criminals caught in the act. I didn’t dare lick them. I wiped them guiltily on my napkin. He had no idea how deeply those words wounded me. They were like nails being driven into my flesh. I picked up the knife and fork. I had hardly ever used such instruments. My hands trembled. My sambar lost its taste.

Chapter 2

He lives in Scarborough. He’s a small, slim man—no more than five foot five. Dark hair, dark eyes. Hair greying at the temples. Can’t be older than forty. Pleasing coffee-coloured complexion. Mild fall weather, yet puts on a big winter parka with fur-lined hood for the walk to the diner. Expressive face. Speaks quickly, hands flitting about. No small talk. He launches forth.

Chapter 3

I was named after a swimming pool. Quite peculiar considering my parents never took to water. One of my father’s earliest business contacts was Francis Adirubasamy. He became a good friend of the family. I called him Mamaji, mama being the Tamil word for uncle and ji being a suffix used in India to indicate respect and affection. When he was a young man, long before I was born, Mamaji was a champion competitive swimmer, the champion of all South India. He looked the part his whole life. My brother Ravi once told me that when Mamaji was born he didn’t want to give up on breathing water and so the doctor, to save his life, had to take him by the feet and swing him above his head round and round.

It did the trick! said Ravi, wildly spinning his hand above his head. He coughed out water and started breathing air, but it forced all his flesh and blood to his upper body. That’s why his chest is so thick and his legs are so skinny.

I believed him. (Ravi was a merciless teaser. The first time he called Mamaji Mr. Fish to my face I left a banana peel in his bed.) Even in his sixties, when he was a little stooped and a lifetime of counter-obstetric gravity had begun to nudge his flesh downwards, Mamaji swam thirty lengths every morning at the pool of the Aurobindo Ashram.

He tried to teach my parents to swim, but he never got them to go beyond wading up to their knees at the beach and making ludicrous round motions with their arms, which, if they were practising the breaststroke, made them look as if they were walking through a jungle, spreading the tall grass ahead of them, or, if it was the front crawl, as it they were running down a hill and flailing their arms so as not to fall. Ravi was just as unenthusiastic.

Mamaji had to wait until I came into the picture to find a willing disciple. The day I came of swimming age, which, to Mother’s distress, Mamaji claimed was seven, he brought me down to the beach, spread his arms seaward and said, This is my gift to you.

And then he nearly drowned you, claimed Mother.

I remained faithful to my aquatic guru. Under his watchful eye I lay on the beach and fluttered my legs and scratched away at the sand with my hands, turning my head at every stroke to breathe. I must have looked like a child throwing a peculiar, slow-motion tantrum. In the water, as he held me at the surface, I tried my best to swim. It was much more difficult than on land. But Mamaji was patient and encouraging.

When he felt that I had progressed sufficiently, we turned our backs on the laughing and the shouting, the running and the splashing, the blue-green waves and the bubbly surf, and headed for the proper rectangularity and the formal flatness (and the paying admission) of the ashram swimming pool.

I went there with him three times a week throughout my childhood, a Monday, Wednesday, Friday early morning ritual with the clockwork regularity of a good front-crawl stroke. I have vivid memories of this dignified old man stripping down to nakedness next to me, his body slowly emerging as he neatly disposed of each item of clothing, decency being salvaged at the very end by a slight turning away and a magnificent pair of imported athletic bathing trunks. He stood straight and he was ready. It had an epic simplicity. Swimming instruction, which in time became swimming practice, was gruelling, but there was the deep pleasure of doing a stroke with increasing ease and speed, over and over, till hypnosis practically, the water turning from molten lead to liquid light.

It was on my own, a guilty pleasure, that I returned to the sea, beckoned by the mighty waves that crashed down and reached for me in humble tidal ripples, gentle lassos that caught their willing Indian boy.

My gift to Mamaji one birthday, I must have been thirteen or so, was two full lengths of credible butterfly. I finished so spent I could hardly wave to him.

Beyond the activity of swimming, there was the talk of it. It was the talk that Father loved. The more vigorously he resisted actually swimming, the more he fancied it. Swim lore was his vacation talk from the workaday talk of running a zoo. Water without a hippopotamus was so much more manageable than water with one.

Mamaji studied in Paris for two years, thanks to the colonial administration. He had the time of his life. This was in the early 1930s, when the French were still trying to make Pondicherry as Gallic as the British were trying to make the rest of India Britannic. I don’t recall exactly what Mamaji studied. Something commercial, I suppose. He was a great storyteller, but forget about his studies or the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre or the cafés of the Champs-Elysées. All his stories had to do with swimming pools and swimming competitions. For example, there was the Piscine Deligny, the city’s oldest pool, dating back to 1796, an open-air barge moored to the Quai d’Orsay and the venue for the swimming events of the 1900 Olympics. But none of the times were recognized by the International Swimming Federation because the pool was six metres too long. The water in the pool came straight from the Seine, unfiltered and unheated. It was cold and dirty, said Mamaji. The water, having crossed all of Paris, came in foul enough. Then people at the pool made it utterly disgusting. In conspiratorial whispers, with shocking details to back up his claim, he assured us that the French had very low standards of personal hygiene. Deligny was bad enough. Bain Royal, another latrine on the Seine, was worse. At least at Deligny they scooped out the dead fish. Nevertheless, an Olympic pool is an Olympic pool, touched by immortal glory. Though it was a cesspool, Mamaji spoke of Deligny with a fond smile.

One was better off at the Piscines Château-Landon, Rouvet or du boulevard de la Gare. They were indoor pools with roofs, on land and open year-round. Their water was supplied by the condensation from steam engines from nearby factories and so was cleaner and warmer. But these pools were still a bit dingy and tended to be crowded. There was so much gob and spit floating in the water, I thought I was swimming through jellyfish, chuckled Mamaji.

The Piscines Hébert, Ledru-Rollin and Butte-aux-Cailles were bright, modern, spacious pools fed by artesian wells. They set the standard for excellence in municipal swimming pools. There was the Piscine des Tourelles, of course, the city’s other great Olympic pool, inaugurated during the second Paris games, of 1924. And there were still others, many of them.

But no swimming pool in Mamaji’s eyes matched the glory of the Piscine Molitor. It was the crowning aquatic glory of Paris, indeed, of the entire civilized world.

It was a pool the gods would have delighted to swim in. Molitor had the best competitive swimming club in Paris. There were two pools, an indoor and an outdoor. Both were as big as small oceans. The indoor pool always had two lanes reserved for swimmers who wanted to do lengths. The water was so clean and clear you could have used it to make your morning coffee. Wooden changing cabins, blue and white, surrounded the pool on two floors. You could look down and see everyone and everything. The porters who marked your cabin door with chalk to show that it was occupied were limping old men, friendly in an ill-tempered way. No amount of shouting and tomfoolery ever ruffled them. The showers gushed hot, soothing water. There was a steam room and an exercise room. The outside pool became a skating rink in winter. There was a bar, a cafeteria, a large sunning deck, even two small beaches with real sand. Every bit of tile, brass and wood gleamed. It was—it was...

It was the only pool that made Mamaji fall silent, his memory making too many lengths to mention.

Mamaji remembered, Father dreamed.

That is how I got my name when I entered this world, a last, welcome addition to my family, three years after Ravi: Piscine Molitor Patel.

Chapter 4

Our good old nation was just seven years old as a republic when it became bigger by a small territory. Pondicherry entered the Union of India on November 1, 1954. One civic achievement called for another. A portion of the grounds of the Pondicherry Botanical Garden was made available rent-free for an exciting business opportunity and—lo and behold—India had a brand new zoo, designed and run according to the most modern, biologically sound principles.

It was a huge zoo, spread over numberless acres, big enough to require a train to explore it, though it seemed to get smaller as I grew older, train included. Now it’s so small it fits in my head. You must imagine a hot and humid place, bathed in sunshine and bright colours. The riot of flowers is incessant. There are trees, shrubs and climbing plants in profusion—peepuls, gulmohurs, flames of the forest, red silk cottons, jacarandas, mangoes, jackfruits and many others that would remain unknown to you if they didn’t have neat labels at their feet. There are benches. On these benches you see men sleeping, stretched out, or couples sitting, young couples, who steal glances at each other shyly and whose hands flutter in the air, happening to touch. Suddenly, amidst the tall and slim trees up ahead, you notice two giraffes quietly observing you. The sight is not the last of your surprises. The next moment you are startled by a furious outburst coming from a great troupe of monkeys, only outdone in volume by the shrill cries of strange birds. You come to a turnstile. You distractedly pay a small sum of money. You move on. You see a low wall. What can you expect beyond a low wall? Certainly not a shallow pit with two mighty Indian rhinoceros. But that is what you find. And when you turn your head you see the elephant that was there all along, so big you didn’t notice it. And in the pond you realize those are hippopotamuses floating in the water. The more you look, the more you see. You are in Zootown!

Before moving to Pondicherry, Father ran a large hotel in Madras. An abiding interest in animals led him to the zoo business. A natural transition, you might think, from hotel keeping to zookeeping. Not so. In many ways, running a zoo is a hotelkeeper’s worst nightmare. Consider: the guests never leave their rooms; they expect not only lodging but full board; they receive a constant flow of visitors, some of whom are noisy and unruly. One has to wait until they saunter to their balconies, so to speak, before one can clean their rooms, and then one has to wait until they tire of the view and return to their rooms before one can clean their balconies; and there is much cleaning to do, for the guests are as unhygienic as alcoholics. Each guest is very particular about his or her diet, constantly complains about the slowness of the service, and never, ever tips. To speak frankly, many are sexual deviants, either terribly repressed and subject to explosions of frenzied lasciviousness or openly depraved, in either case regularly affronting management with gross outrages of free sex and incest. Are these the sorts of guests you would want to welcome to your inn? The Pondicherry Zoo was the source of some pleasure and many headaches for Mr. Santosh Patel, founder, owner, director, head of a staff of fifty-three, and my father.

Every morning before I was out the main gate I had one last impression that was both ordinary and unforgettable...

To me, it was paradise on earth. I have nothing but the fondest memories of growing up in a zoo. I lived the life of a prince. What maharaja’s son had such vast, luxuriant grounds to play about? What palace had such a menagerie? My alarm clock during my childhood was a pride of lions. They were no Swiss clocks, but the lions could be counted upon to roar their heads off between five-thirty and six every morning. Breakfast was punctuated by the shrieks and cries of howler monkeys, hill mynahs and Moluccan cockatoos. I left for school under the benevolent gaze not only of Mother but also of bright-eyed otters and burly American bison and stretching and yawning orang-utans. I looked up as I ran under some trees, otherwise peafowl might excrete on me. Better to go by the trees that sheltered the large colonies of fruit bats; the only assault there at that early hour was the bats’ discordant concerts of squeaking and chattering. On my way out I might stop by the terraria to look at some shiny frogs glazed bright, bright green, or yellow and deep blue, or brown and pale green. Or it might be birds that caught my attention: pink flamingoes or black swans or one-wattled cassowaries, or something smaller, silver diamond doves, Cape glossy starlings, peach-faced lovebirds, Nanday conures, orange-fronted parakeets. Not likely that the elephants, the seals, the big cats or the bears would be up and doing, but the baboons, the macaques, the mangabeys, the gibbons, the deer, the tapirs, the llamas, the giraffes, the mongooses were early risers. Every morning before I was out the main gate I had one last impression that was both ordinary and unforgettable: a pyramid of turtles; the iridescent snout of a mandrill; the stately silence of a giraffe; the obese, yellow open mouth of a hippo; the beak-and-claw climbing of a macaw parrot up a wire fence; the greeting claps of a shoebill’s bill; the senile, lecherous expression of a camel. And all these riches were had quickly, as I hurried to school. It was after school that I discovered in a leisurely way what it’s like to have an elephant search your clothes in the friendly hope of finding a hidden nut, or an orang-utan pick through your hair for tick snacks, its wheeze of disappointment at what an empty pantry your head is. I wish I could convey the perfection of a seal slipping into water or a spider monkey swinging from point to point or a lion merely turning its head. But language founders in such seas. Better to picture it in your head if you want to feel it.

In zoos, as in nature, the best times to visit are sunrise and sunset. That is when most animals come to life. They stir and leave their shelter and tiptoe to the water’s edge. They show their raiments. They sing their songs. They turn to each other and perform their rites. The reward for the watching eye and the listening ear is great. I spent more hours than I can count a quiet witness to the highly mannered, manifold expressions of life that grace our planet. It is something so bright, loud, weird and delicate as to stupefy the senses.

I have heard nearly as much nonsense about zoos as I have about God and religion. Well-meaning but misinformed people think animals in the wild are happy because they are free. These people usually have a large, handsome predator in mind, a lion or a cheetah (the life of a gnu or of an aardvark is rarely exalted). They imagine this wild animal roaming about the savannah on digestive walks after eating a prey that accepted its lot piously, or going for callisthenic runs to stay slim after overindulging. They imagine this animal overseeing its offspring proudly and tenderly, the whole family watching the setting of the sun from the limbs of trees with sighs of pleasure. The life of the wild animal is simple, noble and meaningful, they imagine. Then it is captured by wicked men and thrown into tiny jails. Its happiness is dashed. It yearns mightily for freedom and does all it can to escape. Being denied its freedom for too long, the animal becomes a shadow of itself, its spirit broken. So some people imagine.

This is not the way it is.

Animals in the wild lead lives of compulsion and necessity within an unforgiving social hierarchy in an environment where the supply of fear is high and the supply of food low and where territory must constantly be defended and parasites forever endured. What is the meaning of freedom in such a context? Animals in the wild are, in practice, free neither in space nor in time, nor in their personal relations. In theory—that is, as a simple physical possibility—an animal could pick up and go, flaunting all the social conventions and boundaries proper to its species. But such an event is less likely to happen than for a member of our own species, say a shopkeeper with all the usual ties—to family, to friends, to society—to drop everything and walk away from his life with only the spare change in his pockets and the clothes on his frame. If a man, boldest and most intelligent of creatures, won’t wander from place to place, a stranger to all, beholden to none, why would an animal, which is by temperament far more conservative? For that is what animals are, conservative, one might even say reactionary. The smallest changes can upset them. They want things to be just so, day after day, month after month. Surprises are highly disagreeable to them. You see this in their spatial relations. An animal inhabits its space, whether in a zoo or in the wild, in the same way chess pieces move about a chessboard—significantly. There is no more happenstance, no more freedom, involved in the whereabouts of a lizard or a bear or a deer than in the location of a knight on a chessboard. Both speak of pattern and purpose. In the wild, animals stick to the same paths for the same pressing reasons, season after season. In a zoo, if an animal is not in its normal place in its regular posture at the usual hour, it means something. It may be the reflection of nothing more than a minor change in the environment. A coiled hose left out by a keeper has made a menacing impression. A puddle has formed that bothers the animal. A ladder is making a shadow. But it could mean something more. At its worst, it could be that most dreaded thing to a zoo director: a symptom, a herald of trouble to come, a reason to inspect the dung, to cross-examine the keeper, to summon the vet. All this because a stork is not standing where it usually stands!

But let me pursue for a moment only one aspect of the question.

If you went to a home, kicked down the front door, chased the people who lived there out into the street and said, Go! You are free! Free as a bird! Go! Go!—do you think they would shout and dance for joy? They wouldn’t. Birds are not free. The people you’ve just evicted would sputter, With what right do you throw us out? This is our home. We own it. We have lived here for years. We’re calling the police, you scoundrel.

Don’t we say, There’s no place like home? That’s certainly what animals feel. Animals are territorial. That is the key to their minds. Only a familiar territory will allow them to fulfill the two relentless imperatives of the wild: the avoidance of enemies and the getting of food and water. A biologically sound zoo enclosure—whether cage, pit, moated island, corral, terrarium, aviary or aquarium—is just another territory peculiar only in its size and in its proximity to human territory. That it is so much smaller than what it would be in nature stands to reason. Territories in the wild are large not as a matter of taste but of necessity. In a zoo, we do for animals what we have done for ourselves with houses: we bring together in a small space what in the wild is spread out. Whereas before for us the cave was here, the river over there, the hunting grounds a mile that way, the lookout next to it, the berries somewhere else—all of them infested with lions, snakes, ants, leeches and poison ivy—now the river flows through taps at hand’s reach and we can wash next to where we sleep, we can eat where we have cooked, and we can surround the whole with a protective wall and keep it clean and warm. A house is a compressed territory where our basic needs can be fulfilled close by and safely. A sound

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  • (2/5)
    I finished this and that's the best I can say about it. I kept reading in the hope that it would get better and I'd discover what all the fuss was about, well it didn't and I didn't.
  • (2/5)
    Enjoyable read until...

    Disappointed he ripped off Max and The Cats.
  • (3/5)
    Good but weird. I have NO idea what that island was all about.
  • (3/5)
    I listened to this on CD. The reader did a great job with the accents, really bringing the story to life. If I had been reading on the page, I might have skipped some of the meandering facts with which the story began, the information on animal behavior, and then later the unbearable tedium of life on the ocean. But having gone through it all, I was rewarded with a sense of having shared his Pi's survival. I am not sure about the coda: why the alternate version of events, the reader's choice which to believe, the horrific seemingly realistic version, or the one where the boy lives with a tiger? It seems like a standard metafiction move. I can't decide if it really added anything, but I suppose the fact that it makes me ask that question is the something that it added.Addendum: can't stop thinking about this book since the tiger mauling in San Francisco.
  • (4/5)
    My impression of this book suffers for the circumstances under which I read it. I was ill in hospital and near bed-ridden, so the parallel of a boat drifting on the Pacific ocean and the monotony of my days in a closed room felt very much overlapped.I feel that the base story of this book is well known, or at least what makes up the bulk of the setting, and I'm not sure one can say much more without getting into a lengthy conversation about "why?" It is ponderous outside of Pi's daily survival activities, and few books have made both inclined to think and inclined to accept the face value at the same time.Perhaps I will read it again, to see just how much my state of mind was colouring my view at the time.
  • (3/5)
    A shipwrecked boy has a tiger in his lifeboat.2.5/4 (Okay).The beginning and end of the book are good, but most of the story - the actual survival stuff and tiger training - was a chore to read. Maybe I would have liked it better if I hadn't already seen the movie. This is a rare instance of a movie based on a book making the book more-or-less obsolete.
  • (3/5)
    I'm so damn confused. And did the middle section really need to be THAT long?! I found myself wishing the tiger had eaten him.
  • (3/5)
    Enh, what can I say? I liked the tiger more than I liked Pi, and didn't really get into the allegory so I hated the ending. It did not live up to the hype.
  • (3/5)
    This book was pretty cute. Poor Pi, with a name that his school friends deliberately mispronounce, has a very cool childhood in India, the younger son of a zookeeper/owner. He is a spiritual boy, who even though born Hindu, decides to investigate Christianity as well as Islam, & ends up becoming a convert to all three religions. Oddly enough, it works for him. His parents decide to sell the zoo & emigrate to Canada, on a Japanese tanker ship. One night, something happens, & the ship sinks. Pi finds himself the sole human survivor of the shipwreck, & his lifeboat companions are a zebra, a spotted hyena, & a tiger. It takes all of Pi's survival skills, ingenuity, intelligence, & faith, to get him & Richard Parker, the tiger through 277 days at sea before they wash up on shore in Mexico, where Richard Parker disappears into the Mexican jungle, never to be seen again. Kind of a sad story, but entertaining in it's own way!
  • (4/5)
    I liked it very much. Having heard so much about Life of Pi before, I was expecting a totally different story - much more spiritually, much more fairy tale like. But what I found was a hard knocked story on how hard life can be. A true thriller a some times.

    The only reason for not giving it five starts is for the alternative story Patel tells at the end. That kind of broke the spell for me, unfortunately.

    Otherwise, really great read! Recommended!
  • (5/5)
    The book is somewhat one of the best I have ever read.The whole idea of books is the survival of one man.A castaway who was left with nothing but some food supplies and a tiger in a life boat made it towards the Mexican coast. But was he with a real tiger the whole time. Only he knows for sure. As pi patel our castaway says is the story with animals is interesting than one without them.
    it is a must read for all those who cherish what we have and we could actually feel that there is great deal of difference between what a man can actually do and what a man will do to keep himself alive for as long as possible.
  • (4/5)
    Yann Martel’s Booker Prize winning novel Life of Pi is about a sixteen year old boy named Pi who sees no reason why he cannot be a Muslim, a Christian and a Hindu all at the same time…after all, the rhinos in his father’s zoo get along just fine with the goats, and all Pi wants to do is “love God.” When Pi’s family decides to move to Canada and boards a Japanese cargo ship along with their wild zoo animals in cages below deck, the story takes a sudden turn. Only days into the journey, the ship sinks leaving Pi the only survivor aboard a 26 foot life boat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a 3 year old male Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The story becomes one of survival for Pi as one by one the animals are killed off until only Richard Parker remains.The Life of Pi is not really about a boy castaway and a tiger. Instead it is an exploration of faith and tolerance. Pi is literally set adrift with only himself and God to chart the waters of survival. Richard Parker is symbolic of all the challenges and fears we face in life - those we must overcome to not only survive, but to find meaning in our lives. Early in the novel Pi tells the reader:'My religious doings were reported to my parents in the hushed, urgent tones of treason revealed. As if this small-mindedness did God any good. To me, religion is about our dignity, not our depravity.' -From Life of Pi, page 71-And so when the worst happens and the depraved, instinctive actions of the animals horrifies us, we are reminded that Pi will find dignity anyway. And so he does - through the practised religious rituals which he adapts to his circumstances, Pi recognizes: 'Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love - but sometimes it was so hard to love.' (page 208)Life of Pi leaves us with a twist - a question really of what actually happened. What is the truth of Pi’s adventure? What do we want? A story which makes us think, or one filled with only dry facts?So how did I like Life of Pi? It was a unique book and one which took me almost 100 pages to really sink into and begin to appreciate. This is not a light read - it is a novel filled with deep thoughts and hard questions. I can’t say I enjoyed it - although I did respect the writing and felt it was one of those novels which should be read and digested, and then read again.Recommended for those readers who like a thought-provoking book.
  • (5/5)
    What is a Zoo? What is Noah´s ark? Can survival as a God-fearing humanistic individual be likened with a travel on board with a cannibalistic tiger? Brilliant book about the need of cultivation of the most dangerous animal (homo sapiens sapiens) on the planet. No need to take minor problems into the weighing of this question, Islam, Christendom and Buddism all stand like traditional human torches against the tiger within us all. A tiger that might be unleashed in times of trouble, and which will be unleashed unless we take care to culture our humanism, through religion. Does the cannibalistic alternative to the "thou shalt not kill" make you want to believe?
  • (4/5)
    tedious, but a good story
  • (4/5)
    It is an interesting book, and different in that, a boy is stuck with Bengal tiger in a life boat.Its a good read.
  • (4/5)
    This book is a mesmerizing testament of the human spirit revealed through the unwavering story of how far a young man will go in order to survive. The ending that will leave the reader thinking long after the book has been closed.
  • (4/5)
    I read Life of Pi because I've always heard it was a good read and I agree with that after reading it. What I liked most about it was how it was set up, the beginning tells you the story being told is a look back on it from years after it happened, gives back ground, then delivers the sea tale, and the finally the huge twist that completely changes the readers perspective on the book. I didn't see the twist coming at all and I enjoyed that even though I felt somewhat upset that this incredible story might not be what it seems.

  • (4/5)
    Worth pressing on; if you applied the Page 69 test here, you might well cast this book aside, irritated by the fussy tone and treatment. The first section is tiresome, just about redeemed by the interest of some of the quirky topics covered (sloths, swimming pools, a debunking of zoos that prefigures the main story). But when that main story eventually emerges, a fabulous Robinson Crusoe-style scenario of an individual coping with isolation and adversity, it’s gripping, and rolls swiftly along. And it’s a genuinely novel scenario, not one you’d have heard of or even imagined before. The third phase of the book becomes fanciful again – a phantom castaway, a meerkat world that suggests one of the later travels of Gulliver – but by then one is beguiled by the writing, the protagonist, the tale itself. Insightful, wise, credible at least? Doubtful. But the story has an elegance, beauty even, conveyed gently and calmly by that main character (Pi)’s distinct voice. Memorable.
  • (4/5)
    Loved it. Wasn't too crazy about the end chunk on the oraganic island but whatever. Great stuff.
  • (2/5)
    As I approached the conclusion of this book I couldn't help but thinking that Pi managed to get his tiger managed just as he managed all of his gods.

    For me, this was a slow, uninteresting read. In the last third of there book there were some interesting snippets. Generally, this was a narration of a sequence-of-events with rare deviations in to embellishment.

    The first third of this book really damaged my ability to suspend disbelief and engage imagination in order to enjoy the story.

    I just glad this is over.



  • (4/5)
    Well the book was good
  • (4/5)
    Life of Pi is imaginative, fantastical allegory. A young man, Pi Patel, survives a shipwreck at sea, only to find himself in a lifeboat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a tiger by the name of Richard Parker. The animals are there because Pi’s father is a zookeeper and is transporting it from India to Canada when the fateful storm strikes. Fairly quickly the only two who remain are Richard Parker and Pi, and of course Pi must use his wits to survive for hundreds of days in this predicament. I’ll spare you the details but survive he does; Pi lives to tell his tale to a couple of shocked investigators.It’s when the investigators express a little skepticism, and ask Pi to tell the story without the animals, that the allegory reveals itself.Pi says, “You want a story that won’t surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won’t make you see higher or farther or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story. You want dry, yeastless factuality.” And then proceeds to tell them, briefly, in 10 pages as opposed to the 300 that came before it, a very different version, one with people who have climbed aboard the lifeboat with him instead of animals, one of whom is his mother. They are driven to extremes by hunger, and resort to cannibalism and murder in order to survive.And so the reader is faced with the question, were the animals make-believe all along, dreamed up by Pi to avoid staring cruelty and inhumanity in the face, so that he doesn’t have to acknowledge the fact that to survive he ate human flesh, and that his mother, not an orangutan, was killed before his very eyes? It’s a question that Martel doesn’t answer directly, and perhaps it’s not relevant. For he seems to be asking a different question, which as I ponder It seems to be that in a larger sense aren’t all of us adrift in the ocean of existence, often faced with desperate circumstances, and unfortunately witnessing cruelty in some form or another from our fellow man? That to transcend this condition, to transcend our transience, don’t we populate the story of our existence with fantasy as a coping mechanism, and isn’t it perhaps better to do that? Indeed, one of the investigators draws the conclusion that the story with the animals is “better”, to which Pi replies, “And so it goes with God.”While the religious view does seem to be Martel/Patel’s answer, it isn’t delivered in a heavy-handed way. Patel is open to all religions and in fact chooses to believe in several of them, and also considers atheists his brothers. While I don’t agree with Pi when he says that they are “of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith”, in fact I strongly disagree, to the larger story atheists can draw their own conclusion, for Martel’s question doesn’t seem to be what “reality” or “truth” is, it seems to be what’s the better story, what’s the better way to choose to live life, what’s the better belief system. One can choose the “dry, yeastless factuality”, as he puts it, if one views the unvarnished truth as preferable, and reject the idea of a 450-pound tiger in a lifeboat.Just this quote, on death:“To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephew, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you.”
  • (4/5)
    This book makes one think. It is engaging and discusses religion and power struggles. At first the story seems very random, and becomes even more unbelievable once he is on the boat with the tiger. The end of the book has a dramatic twist that put a smile on my face as it brought everything together.
  • (4/5)
    The author does an excellent job of balancing the dark, gruesome, sometimes horrific nature of being human with the beauty and resilience of nature and the human spirit. Then the author challenges the reader to choose a moral compass with which to focus her perception of it all. I think Pi would agree with my perspective: all humans have a dark side, we should not dwell on the dark side, but instead choose to focus on and embrace the light.
  • (5/5)
    This book will be packed in my suitcase when I depart for my deserted island. I know, I know, I should rather pack booze.. but this is an amazing read. When I finished Life of Pi the first time, I just started reading again right from the beginning. The story is so unbelievable that you can almost believe it really happened. Try it.
  • (1/5)
    So awful. So long. So repetitive, and unrelenting. I couldn't stop, though, so I know I didn't care for the ending, although I was glad it came.
  • (3/5)
    Sort of felt the book was overrated. It's good but not great, IMHO.
  • (5/5)
    When this book became a bestseller, and I read the blurb to learn that the bulk of the story took place in a lifeboat, containing one child, and one full grown Bengal tiger, I knew I had to read it. I was not let down. Psychologically compelling and destined to be classic.
  • (3/5)
    This book was less sappy / sentimental than I expected. Also more puzzling. A worthy survival story with "magical realist" ambience. I found it "a little less" and "a little more" in many ways and I'm still scratching my head a bit over "the message," if there was one (not that there has to be). Is it really: "God makes a better story than No-God?"
  • (3/5)
    It´s difficult to determine wich is the subject of the book. It begins depicting the life of an indian teenager and its religious interests. It tells a lot about animals and zoos. But most pages are about a survival story in the middle of the Pacific ocean. That´s a cruel and sometimes boring story. At the end of the book one even thinks that it has only been a fantasy of a teenage to cover a crueler story. One learns, but overall what one learns is that life can be incredibly cruel and go on.