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Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

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Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Diana » Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:02 pm

There's been some discussion of the book already in the announcement thread, so I figured it's time for a real discussion thread. Spoilers are inherent, no need to use tags... I'm not sure they even work anymore. Neutral

Well, anyway, what did you think of it? I thought it was an excellent book. My favorite parts of it were, I think, the parts concerning religion... Like Jangles said, it didn't change my personal views at all, maybe even strengthened them, but I thought Pi's religious customs were fascinating. The idea of being able to accept three religious systems at once says a lot about the difference (or rather, the lack thereof) in the gods that humans all over the world create. I'm agnostic; I'm willing to consider that there might be a higher power out there, but I don't think it's something which any human or group of humans can comprehend, and I don't believe that any of the gods/deities presented by organized religions are real. Given that, Life of Pi made me think a lot about the nature of these concepts of god(s) that humans create in order to explain the world, and how, at their root, they're very similar.

Okay, I have more to say about the book, but I don't want to clog up this post... So, what did YOU think? Any observations are welcome. Very Happy
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Ihdreniel » Tue Jun 19, 2007 7:03 pm

::bounces::
Anyone else read it yet? I just finished it last night, and it was GREAT. Definitely my favorite Book Club book so far (even including Never Let Me Go, which has been one of my favorite books for a fairly long time).

So. Spoilers behind cut. (I'm assuming we're still doing that? Or should I assume that everyone who's reading this thread has completely finished the book? I'll do the cut anyway, just in case.)

Spoiler:
The part with the carnivorous island was creepy. The scene where he found the teeth tweaked me out. Shocked

As for humor, I loved the taped interview with the two Japanese men. That whole interaction was hilarious- they obviously thought Pi was completely off his rocker (and even said so, privately, quite a number of times), and he just kept stringing them along. And asking for more food. Laughing

So, I'm sure the one question everyone's going to want to discuss is, which story was true? The one with the animals or without the animals?
I'd have to say I believe the story with the animals. Pi only told the other one after Mr. Okomoto and Mr. Chiba practically forced him to, and it was told much more straight-forwardly, with much less emotion (which, again, is what the interviewers asked for). I would find it odd that he'd be able to speak of such horrible, awful things (such as his mother's severed head being thrown at him- another scene that squicked me out) with such composure if they had really happened.
However, I can think of several things that might explain his telling of the elaborate story with the animals, if the second story was in fact the true one.
He could have made up the Richard Parker story while still lost at sea, to keep himself from going insane. If the second story were true, it no doubt would have kept his mind occupied to spin such a tale.
Also, I find it very interesting that each character in the first story corresponds to a character in the second story. Like the interviewers figure out, Pi corresponds to the tiger. Maybe, while out alone at sea for 225 days (eh, I think that was the number- it was in that range, at any rate), he sort of developed this wild, unpredictable alter ego. I'm not talking split personalities or anything, but maybe he got so lonely that, in addition to spinning the fantastic tale that he later told his interviewers, he had to create somebody to talk to, even somebody that wouldn't necessarily talk back. Growing up in a zoo, an animal would be a natural choice, and that way, he himself could still be the leader, the one in charge of everything. The 'tiger' could just be a companion. That would also account for why Richard Parker just up and left the moment they reached land. Pi didn't need that side of him anymore. He was alive, he was safe, and he was among people- he could fully be himself, and only himself, again.
Okay, impromptu pop psychology done.

I still choose believe the story with the animals, though. Razz
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Diana » Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:08 pm

I agree with Jangles; though Life of Pi was an excellent book, Never Let Me Go was (in my opinion) better.

Spoiler:
What I appreciated about the religious sections of the book was that, although they were really unusual and very religious (of course XD), they weren't PREACHY. The one thing I can't stand in books is when they try to convert me to whatever religion's being described. As long as it's portrayed in a fairly neutral manner, I'm okay with religion in books. (Example of usage of religion in books that I am NOT okay with: Chronicles of Narnia.)

And I, too, will not be swayed from believing the story with the animals... It's just so much more engaging and I don't think it's all that far-fetched--apart from the part with the carnivorous island; I think that might have been a hallucination. It was extremely creepy but I'm not sure I believe it. XD

Also, the animal story is so intricate and well-explained... Yeah, I know, people's imaginations can come up with pretty amazing things, but strange things DO happen in real life as well. Seeing as how there's nothing to *prevent* me from believing the story that's told for most of the book, and seeing as how it's just plain fascinating, that's the version I prefer.
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Centaurboi2 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:47 am

Grr. I put it on hold a week ago and I picked it up today and I accidently held the CD Sad Well I placed a hold on the book and now I'm waiting for it to arrive... Expect my comments soon! </spam>
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Ihdreniel » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:00 pm

Centaurboi: Glad to know that you're going to be reading/discussing the book! Very Happy Just so you know, though, posts about your success in getting the book should probably go in the book announcement thread- this thread's basically for discussion of the book itself. Wink

Spoiler:
Huzzah for the animals! I wonder if a 'pro-second story' person will come along- we could have a real debate about it. Very Happy
Diana wrote:What I appreciated about the religious sections of the book was that, although they were really unusual and very religious (of course XD), they weren't PREACHY. The one thing I can't stand in books is when they try to convert me to whatever religion's being described. As long as it's portrayed in a fairly neutral manner, I'm okay with religion in books.

I agree. The book didn't make me feel one way or another about religion (and I doubt it was meant to, even though the author claims that it is a story to make you believe in God), and I really liked how Pi was able to practice all three religions without them coming into conflict with each other. I didn't find his 'omni-religiousness' ridiculous at all. I stand by the belief that religion can be a wonderful, inspiring force in a person's life- if someone is driven to do good because of religion, does it really matter whether said religion is true or not? And if one religion can help someone become a better person, maybe three can do even more for another.
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Centaurboi2 » Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:12 am

Yeah your right...

Well I have read about 40 chapies I think and it has been a good book so far.

Spoiler:
I absolutely love the omni-religion part. And I also thought it was funny when his brother was teasing him about having so many religions. And the animals! There back storys were very interesting. </lame>
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Hello » Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:08 am

I loved Life of Pi! I read it in french though, because I already had it. Razz

Spoiler:
I really don't know which story happened. I'd like to believe the first, much like everyone, but the second is just as plausible to me.
And about Pi being represented by Richard Parker... I think somehow he knew he was a danger to himself. Imagine being stuck in the middle of the Pacific ocean for months: Wouldn't it be much easier to jump in the water and end it faster?


I think it's a great book; NLMG was very good too, but I prefer this one. Razz
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Ihdreniel » Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:26 pm

Spoiler:
Centaurboi2 wrote:And the animals! There back storys were very interesting. </lame>

I love the story of how Richard Parker got his name. Laughing During the first section of the book, he kept mentioning Richard Parker, whom I assumed was the tiger because of the context... and I was hoping that they'd explain how he got the name. Hee.
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Centaurboi2 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:53 pm

Spoiler:
Ihdreniel wrote:
Centaurboi2 wrote:And the animals! There back storys were very interesting. </lame>

I love the story of how Richard Parker got his name. Laughing During the first section of the book, he kept mentioning Richard Parker, whom I assumed was the tiger because of the context... and I was hoping that they'd explain how he got the name. Hee.
Yeah me too.

Yay finally finished! Thats was an excelent book it was a tragic comedey(sp?). I loved the weird algea island thats was so... Mysterious XD. and I thought to interview was pretty funny too. "We don't believe your story." "theese are good cookies. Why not?" "because bannanas(sp? sorry Im on my parent comp with no spell check) don't float." "Yes they do. Here I have two bannanas try it." blah blah blah about insisting on doing it. "OK fine" *chairscoot* *water running* "whats happening I can't see" "I'm filling the sink..." "now" "they're floating.." XD I loved that whole part. Espically when he made up a new story, that was cool how he made the people like the animals(did anyone else notice it before the profesors did?). Also that was kinda weird when he was talking to Richard parker(Or was it the frenchman?) That part confused me.
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby BkkprGirl » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:40 pm

My best friend read this book, and she said that it was just okay. She said that the ending was strange, because suddenly Pi started telling this story that totally contradicted the one that he was telling the whole book. I personally haven't read it, and judging from my friend's review, I probably won't be reading it any time soon.
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Ihdreniel » Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:39 pm

BkkprGirl wrote:My best friend read this book, and she said that it was just okay. She said that the ending was strange, because suddenly Pi started telling this story that totally contradicted the one that he was telling the whole book.

That's kind of the point. In the end, you kind of have to decide for yourself which story is true- the sort of unbelievable but really cool story he told first, or the more realistic but less interesting (and more disturbing!) story he told later. I personally thought it was a really neat aspect of the book.
"eeeep!" says the insane chibling.
And then. . .

It attacks.

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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby J » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:03 pm

I'm sorry I'm a bit late commenting here, but I didn't have time back in July, and the signup thread said we could still post on old books.

Spoiler:
First let me say I didn't really enjoy the beginning. I found the bits about the zoo and religion kind of interesting, like watching a National Geographic documentary, but difficult to read. There seemed to me to be a lot of "foreign" words, which made the story drag. You're zipping along, happily reading a sentence, and suddenly you hit a word you've never seen before. Now you have to pause for a moment and figure out what it means. Usually it's obvious from the context, but the constant stopping and starting got annoying after a while. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else?

It's been a while, so I can't think of actual examples offhand, but I think it was mostly religious terminology and Indian words. Or maybe I just have a really poor vocabulary.

Anyway, once we got to the storm and ship sinking it got a whole lot more interesting for me. I'm more of an action kind of guy, so I like a bit of excitement and suspense. There were times when I just couldn't put the book down I was so engrossed in the story.

But the very best was the end. When he told the second story, for me it was like the literary equivalent of the twist at the end of the Sixth Sense. Suddenly your mind makes this huge leap and you see everything in a different light. That was just awesome.

Personally I'm a believer in the second story. As much as I enjoyed the first, I think it was just the case of an extremely traumatised child inventing a fantasy to cope with the horrible experience he had endured. The mind works in strange ways.

Overall, I thought it was a great book. And I would never have read it if it weren't for the book club. Thank you for the excellent recommendation.

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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Ihdreniel » Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:45 pm

I don't really remember if I encountered a lot of foreign words during the beginning of the book- if/when I re-read the book, I'll be on the lookout for that, though... that's interesting.
I sort of agree with your assessment of the beginning- it did seem to drag just a little bit, but I didn't really mind it (particularly when it came to that part about how he came to actively practice the three religions at once- I thought that was fascinating).

J wrote:When he told the second story, for me it was like the literary equivalent of the twist at the end of the Sixth Sense. Suddenly your mind makes this huge leap and you see everything in a different light. That was just awesome.

Definitely agreed. The twist was awesome, and though I myself choose to believe the first story, I still love how he came up with the second right off the bat, whether it was the more factual of the two or not.

My favorite part of the book was still when he was on the raft, though. Richard Parker = made of uber-awesomeness.

Ugh- I use the word 'awesome' too much.
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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby J » Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:38 am

Ihdreniel wrote:I don't really remember if I encountered a lot of foreign words during the beginning of the book- if/when I re-read the book, I'll be on the lookout for that, though... that's interesting.

I should re-read it myself so I can give some examples. They probably weren't really foreign words - just words of foreign origin. For example, a word like sari (I don't know whether that was actually used in the book, but that's the sort of thing I mean).

On a separate note, I just remembered my favourite quote from the book: To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. I loved that.

Ugh- I use the word 'awesome' too much.

That's because awesome is such an awesome word. Smile

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Re: Discussion: Life of Pi (spoilers)

Postby Ihdreniel » Tue Dec 25, 2007 12:02 am

J wrote:On a separate note, I just remembered my favourite quote from the book: To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. I loved that.

Yes! That's from when he was explaining how he thinks of agnosticism as a sort-of 'cop-out', right? I didn't really agree with his opinion, but I thought it was an interesting point.

Ugh- I use the word 'awesome' too much.

That's because awesome is such an awesome word. Smile[/quote]
Agreed! Very Happy
"eeeep!" says the insane chibling.
And then. . .

It attacks.

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