Friday 30 November 2012

Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel [audio book]

Life of Pi is a masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound. Using the threads of all of our best stories, Yann Martel has woven a glorious spiritual adventure that makes us question what it means to be alive, and to believe. (via Goodreads)

As I mentioned in my last post, I originally started reading Life of Pi on paperback before switching to audio book. The audio book is narrated by Jeff Woodman and is just under 11 hours in length.

I definitely wouldn't have gotten through Life of Pi had I simply been reading it. The story is very slow and full of, what I considered to be, unnecessary detail. For example, Pi illustrates piece-by-piece how to cull several different kinds of animals aboard a lifeboat. I understand that his experience was extremely difficult, but I don't need to know everything. I wanted more scenes that had my pulse racing, not cringing with distaste.

There's also a lot about religion and philosophy, and because of this the beginning of the novel felt rather like a lesson which I couldn't fully appreciate. Again, whilst I'm aware that you need to know some background information to understand the survival part of the story, it just felt like too much.

But it's impossible to deny the amount of emotion that encompasses Life of Pi, and I put a lot of that down to the flawless, suitably animated narration delivered by Woodman. For me, he made the pages come to life in a way that I wouldn't have detected without his voice.

As for the characters, they're wonderfully developed. I particularly loved the tiger whose power I could almost feel and beauty I could almost see.

Altogether, Life of Pi is a good story of courage and survival with some interesting insights and heartbreaking emotion. Whilst I didn't enjoy it half as much as I wished to, I'm still eager to see the film adaptation when it comes out in December.

Rating: 3 / 5