LITERATURE: Life of Pi – Opening Thoughts

This reverts back to Kundera’s (and I have a feeling that Kundera may be with me for life) theory on recurrence, and in particular, on Karenin’s joie de vivre being dependent upon repetition:

For that is what animals are, conservative, one might even say reactionary. The smallest changes can upset them. They want things to be just so, day after day, month after month. Surprises are highly disagreeable to them. (p. 20)

This is Martel’s philosophizing, in explanation–or rather, a rationalization–of Pi’s interest in animals after being brought up as the son of a zookeeper. This is getting interesting after my rather resistant start of the novel.

What Martel has done is clearly author intrusion by starting out the ‘novel’ with an "Author’s Note’" that gives the background of the reason and the story to follow.  I never usually read forewords, backwords, or spark notes until I’m done–unless I’m clearly lost and losing interest. I’m not sure if the "Author’s Note" then makes this work nonfiction, or whether Martel is just taking advantage of a writing device to make the story appear more personal and real, inviting closer reader involvement. Since I’m a Scorpio (translation: Well, which is it?) this put me off a bit right from the start.

Martel starts the story out with a great opening line:

My suffering left me sad and gloomy.

But then goes into a spin that gives us some information on the narrator, and even more on the two-toed sloth.  There are also some lists of animals that seem a bit too lengthy, and some crammed-in data about swimming and a peek into his early family life.

It’s definitely different, and little by little I’m opening my mind to what this author offers me, whether it be fiction or fictionalized.

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