Comments 4

In the countercurrents of the Pacific – Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I like the fifth plan

I am currently reading this with two friends, LS and Maria. We are now halfway through it, at least I am, and I’ll just post my daily inputs for the first three days to make things easier for me.


Day 1:

Welcome to Zookeeping 101! The first 50 pages felt like nonfiction. It was fun though. The animal talk is just expected, but what I am surprised about is all this talk about Christian and Muslim and Hindu gods. So how will the author make the reader believe in God if he presents multiple gods? I am a monotheist, and that involves a longer discussion. Maybe this can be discussed later.

During the first few pages, I had a little problem with Pi’s name. Is it pea or is it pie? I’m glad that this is cleared soon enough. Anyway, Pi is quite a likable character. He’s smart and he strikes me as someone who’d rather be alone.

Another problem that I encountered is whether or not this novel is based on real life. It could be metafiction, and I can’t be bothered to check. I’ll try verifying if I remember to do so.

There are two perspectives interwoven in this novel, which are the past and the present. The latter, I didn’t mind much yet. These are the chapters in italics. I wonder how these are depicted on audio?

I like the part where the father of Pi taught him and his brother Ravi an important lesson. It is a harsh one, and do you think Pi, eight years old at that time, is too young to be taught of and to learn it?


Day 2:

I just want to love god. That’s what Pi says when questioned why he is practicing three religions at the same time. This is certainly a bizarre behavior, for how can one practice even two religions without renouncing the contradicting beliefs of each other? But given Pi’s answer, we really can’t hold it against him.

This novel is becoming more theological than adventurous. I am waiting for that part where Pi is marooned on a boat with the tiger, but I don’t mind the events that take place before that. Which, if you ask me, are not so much eventful as philosophical.

I also like that part where the priest, imam, and pandit met Pi and his parents. Although it looked a little too contrived, it was hilarious.

I am now at that part where the boat sank. It’s weird because he saved Richard Parker, the tiger. It’s only a bit too late when he realized that he was pulling a tiger toward the boat.

The relationship that Pi and Richard Parker will develop in the next parts can be expected to be at least non-carnivorous because the theory of zoomorphism was foreshadowed in one of the chapters. One detail, about dolphins pushing drowning sailors up to the surface of the sea, touched me.


Day 3:

I’m having a difficult time imagining how Pi, the tiger, the hyena, the orangutan, and the zebra all fit in the boat because I can hardly summon an image of a boat. The descriptions are even tedious, with boat parts and dimensions that I couldn’t be bothered to research. I can’t imagine how the tarpaulin and the oar separated Pi from the animals. I can’t also imagine the improvised raft that he created.

Nevertheless, it isn’t as dragging as it sounds. Survival stories are almost always gripping. There’s a visceral quality in them that makes you root for the protagonist and whisper a mantra of hope. Fight, fight, fight!

Currently, the only living things in the boat are Pi and the tiger. But before that, I cannot believe how a tiger can be so utterly silent for a couple of days, even allowing the hyena to feast on the zebra and the orangutan. Very typical of cats: they don’t give a shit whatever happens to their surroundings.

I find the six plans of Pi to survive humorous. But not one of them is sound enough for execution. But in the course of their solitary adventure in the Pacific, a seventh plan is summoned: keep the tiger alive.


Date Started: March 25, 2012. 9:00 PM. Book #17 of 2012.



  1. Monique says

    “I’m having a difficult time imagining how Pi, the tiger, the hyena, the orangutan, and the zebra all fit in the boat …”

    You will be reminded of this again when you come to the end of the book. I can’t wait to hear about your reaction. :)


    • So far, it’s good. I think Emir reacted negatively against this, mostly because of the alleged stealing of another author’s ideas. I am not too sure about that, but I don’t mind. Nothing is original nowadays.


    • Monique says

      I researched on the plagiarism issue, and it turns out that there’s truth to it. Martel subsequently acknowledged that he got the “inspiration” for Life of Pi from Scliar’s Max and The Cats, but not before the latter threatened to sue.

      That aside, however, I think Life of Pi should be judged on its own merits and not on the plagiarism issue.

      Emir is pretty serious with respect to originality, that’s why. He even vaguely hinted that Rowling’s Harry Potter was a rip-off of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea character. :)


    • Speaking of plagiarism, do you remember your Christmas gift to me, My Name is Red? Someone is accusing Orhan Pamuk of the same deed, but he did not admit to it, unlike Yann Martel.

      I agree with you on this. It is how the author executes an idea that matters.


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