I loved the first third of this book. I loved Pi and his rambling thoughts about life, animals, religion, and experience. 5 stars up to that point. But after the shipwreck it drifted down to 3 stars, so I'll give it 4 overall. The lifeboat experiences became tedious, too many gory details, although perhaps it was intended to portray the monotony of endless days just trying to survive. This is not a fantasy novel. But it is not quite allegory either. It reminds me of a phrase we use at church after the reading of scripture. "I don't know if it really happened this way, but I know the story is true." This book is not what I expected. It is a witness to the worst that can happen to a human being and how we frame our experiences in light of whatever beliefs we have about life, God and the universe that allow us to survive and make sense of things without going insane. I look forward to seeing the movie.
Book Description: Piscine Molitor Patel, nicknamed Pi, lives in Pondicherry, India, where his family runs a zoo. Little Pi is a great reader. He devours books on Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, and to the surprise of his secular parents, becomes devoted to all three religions. When the parents decide to emigrate to Canada, the family boards a cargo ship with many of the animals that are going to new zoological homes in North America, and bravely sets sail for the New World. Alas, the ship sinks. A solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the surface of the wild blue Pacific. In it are five survivors: Pi, a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. With intelligence, daring and inexpressible fear, Pi manages to keep his wits about him as the animals begin to assert their places in the foodchain; it is the tiger, Richard Parker, with whom he must develop an inviolable understanding.