LIFE OF PI NOVEL BY FILM DIRECTED BYYANN MARTEL ANG LEE
INTRODUCTIONYann Martel was born in Salamanca, Spain in 1963, his parents were doinggraduate studies in Spain at the time.His father was a diplomat and he grew up in Costa Rica, France, Spain,Mexico and Canada. He obtained a degree in Philosophy from TrentUniversity in Ontario.As an adult, he travelled around the word, nowadays he lives in Montreal.He had various odd jobs before taking up writing full-time at the age of 27.Martel published his first book, a short-story collection entitled The Factsbehind the Helsinki Roccamatios, in 1993.Novels published:1996- Self2001- Life of Pi2004- We Ate the Children Last: Stories2009- What is Stephen Harper Reading? Yann Martels Recommended Reading for a Prime Minister2010- Beatrice and VirgilAwards:2003- Book Prize (South Africa), Life of Pi2002- Man Booker Prize for Fiction, Life of Pi2002- Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book), Life of Pi2001- Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction (Canada), Life of Pi2001- Governor Generals Literary Award for Fiction (Canada), Life of Pi1996- Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award (Canada), Self1993- Journey Prize (Canada), The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios
MAIN CHARACTERSThe authorIt’s been said that it’s Martel himself. He is from Canada and is trying towrite a book about Portugal, but fails to do so. Then he decides to go toIndia (where he could live longer with less money). By chance he meets aman who tells him to go back to Canada an look for a man call Pi, who has agreat story that will make him believe in God.Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi)He is the main character, he was named after a swimming pool, a peculiarname. He is the one that survives the drowning of the ship that was takinghim an his family to Canada. He is also the one that tells the story to thewriter.Richard ParkerA Bengal tiger from Pi’s father zoo, it’s Pi’s companion in the adventurethrough the Pacific Ocean.Francis Adirubasamy, also call, MamajiHe is the reason why Pi was named after a swimming pool. He is one of Pi’sfather bussiness contacts and a family friend. He is very fond of Pi and theone that teaches him to swim.RaviPi’s brother. He likes to pick on Pi, making fun of him about his desire forreligion. He is two years older than Pi and quite popular at school.Santosh PatelPi’s father. Before moving to Pondicherry he ran a large hotel in Mandras,but his interest in animals lead him to the zoo business. He owns the Zoosituated at Pondicherry Botanical Garden. He is good at business. He teacheshis sons to take care of the animals at the zoo but to fear them too. He isn’ta religious man, he believes in reality and science.Gita PatelPi’s mother. She encourages Pi to read as much as possible; she doesn’tagree with her husband’s methods to show the kids how fearful they mustbe of wild animals.The Hyena, the zebra and Orange JuiceFor a few days they were on the lifeboat with Pi, Orange Juice is an oldfemale orangutan.
THE PLOTThe book is divided into three parts:The first one goes from chapter 1 to chapter 36, the story is set in Torontoand Pondicherry.The second one goes from chapter 37 to chapter 94, it’s about the PacificOcean.The third part (and the last one), goes from chapter 95 up to chapter 100it’s set in Benito Juarez, Mexico.The book starts as the writer describes how he ended up writing Pi’s story.After that, Pi starts to talk about himself, not much really, just to use it as aconnection to the story.Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi), whose name comes from a swimming-pool situatedin Paris. How so? Because one of his father’s business contacts, and later, afamily friend (Mamaji, as Pi calls him), was a competitor swimmer. He hasbeen in lots of swimming-pools around the world, but in his opinion, themost remarkable one, is Piscine Molitor, in Paris and this is the gift he gaveto Pi’s family…Piscine’s name.Pi lives in Pondicherry, with his family: his brother Ravi and his parents.His father owns a zoo at the Pondicherry Botanical Garden, he is quite asuccessful businessman, and they have a good life. For Pi, the zoo is heaven,he loves to go there after school and feed the animals. He knows all of themand he can tell quite a lot about their life conditions at the zoo.Pi is a good student, but he hates that his schoolmates make fun of himbecause of his name, even the teachers without realizing, end up calling himPissing. As a new school year starts, he tries to have a new start, and assoon as they have to tell their fellow classmates their names, Pi goesstraight to the blackboard and tells them how his name is spelt and thesimilitude with the mathematical number Pi. Even though he does this in allhis classes, it is all in vain, one of his classmates remembered what isnickname was… Pissing.
Pi is Hindu, Catholic and Muslim. He finds religion through different ways andhe believes in God. For him, as Gandhi said: “all religions are true”. The onlything he wants to do is to love God, doesn’t matter how you get to him.India is changing and his parents don’t agree with the political situation. Pi’sfather decides it’s time to leave the country and have a new beginning inCanada. Pi and his brother aren’t happy about it, but there is nothing theycan do. The decision is made, they are leaving. The animals will be sold inAmerica, they could have been sold in India, but the American zoos arewilling to pay more money. They will end up with a good sum to start a newlife in Canada (that’s what his father thinks anyway).They leave Madras on June 21st, 1977, on the Panamanian-registeredJapanese cargo ship name Tsimtsum. A few days after their stop in Manila,the ship sinks and Pi ends up in a lifeboat with a tiger named Richard Parker,a hyena, a zebra and an orang-utan.Days and nights pass by and he has to deal with the weather, with the sea,and most importantly, with the tiger. The adventure is marvellous and hegives us a great description of sea life at the Pacific Ocean.He survives in the sea for as long as 227 days, more than anyone canremember. He learns how to fish small fish, big fish, deep-sea fish, smallsharks, tortoises (turtles as he calls them in American English).He learn how to keep occupied during the day with multiple tasks so as tokeep his mind busy.
He ends up at the Mexican border, found by a member of his own specie, ashe recalls. But he is quite sad at how Richard Parker left the lifeboats,without looking back at him, without saying goodbye.The last part of the book is where two Japanese from the MaritimeDepartment in the Japanese Ministry of Transport comes to see him. Theyneed to know what happened on the ship and why it sunk. He tells them hisstory and how he ended up in Mexico.As they don’t believe him, they want to hear another story, one thateverybody can believe, so, he tells them a new story, a shorter one. In theend, you’ll know two stories, the one he believe in, and the one theJapanese want to hear.You have to read the book and see which one you like most, and which isthe one you prefer to believe.
MY PERSONAL OPINIONI have to be grateful that I had to write this review, because a few daysbefore writing it, I heard on the radio about the film based on this book, andabout the book itself.Apparently, the reviews for both of them were remarkable and the book hasbeen translated into forty-four languages and sold 9 million copiesworldwide.Although at the beginning it was heavy-going and it took me quite a while tolike it, after I did, I couldn’t stop reading it.It’s an amazing story of determination and survival in one of the mostchallenging situations someone can be driven into. Written in short phrases,it’s fast-moving, easy to end up running through the pages.The only negative thing I can think of is that I found myself stuck to adictionary as the author describes the sea species of the Pacific ocean sinceI’m not used to this kind of vocabulary.Right after I finished the book, I watched the film. I was a bit sceptical,because I thought it had to be difficult to fill up a two-hour film with a boy ana tiger in a lifeboat, and not much of a dialogue It was going to be boring, itwas going to be difficult not to get bored with it.But Ang Lee it’s an expert at catching your attention. The scenery isindescriptive, the light, the colours of the sea, the sky, how he captures sealife. For me? The colours are the most amazing thing in the entire film. Howbright they are during the night, during the day, the way a whale jumps overthe lifeboat…
If you have the opportunity to watch this film in 3D, the birds, the water, thestorms will come upon you and you’ll be part of this adventure.I truly recommend both. They are moving, thought-provoking making usthink about the way we complain all the time about our lives, well, you’llhear a boy that had to go through the most painful experience in his life andhe gets through it and becomes a lovely husband and father and still, he cantell his story aloud.