• SumoMe

Yann Martel’s work Life of Pi features a vegetarian universalist boy named Piscine (Pi) Patel who grows up in a zoo-owning family and finds himself suddenly overboard and on a life boat with a huge Bengal tiger. Struggling with his inability to find sustenance and overcome is constant fear of getting eaten by a tiger, Pi details in first-person the intricacies of his trip across the ocean.

The central theme in the work involves Pi’s struggle to believe in God, and various literary critics (of which I’m not) detailed his struggle by explaining various forms of allegory within the work. While this theme is clearly present, the work is not an outward religious novel unless you detract away from the text and focus on the symbolism of otherwise-secular events.

Life of Pi is a book I revisited after reading once in High School, and I’m glad I did. Teenagers would generally lack the full ability to appreciate this work, as they have not lived long enough. I’m sure the novel will read very differently when I’m 50 as opposed to 25. This quality is one of the qualities of a great novel–the ability to read over and over and gain something new each time, much like The Great Gatsby.

Nevertheless, Life of Pi is a great work for men to read because it touches on concerns of survival and perseverance. The novel is an easy but thought-heavy read that moves quickly once you pass the first third of introductory material. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure, religion, animals, or storytelling. Martel effortlessly brings each element together in a cohesive work that will surely prove a worthwhile read.