Life of Pi: Slow plot, dull lead
OK, so, I know that’s a big call, but this seems to me to be an incredibly slow book and quite dull. I realise this must just be me: I must be some kind of philistine. It has awards, after all, and reviewers on the web seem to find that it is gripping and enthralling. The thing is, though, for me, it’s not.
I get that the book has a three-act structure with a long second act, but to get to the bit where plot happens, you need to go through a pointless framing narrative and a lengthy bio of Pi, who for all the words shoved into him isn’t an interesting enough lead to carry the story
I thought I’d be the sort of person who goes for this book. I like fantasy. I like surrealism. I studied a bit of comparative theology at Uni and like discussing it, although I’m not currently practicing in any formal religion. I thought “This will be the book for me.” and its not, because Pi’s not an active enough character to make me care about his outcome. Reading the book felt like a duty, made worse by the writer’s need to say everything at least three times, in slight variations. If I wasn’t reading this for book club, I’d have quit by the time the ship sank.
I’m told in various reviews I’ve read that I’m meant to see him as a seeker who has a deep spiritual life, but to me he’s just an eccleticist who never grapples with the difficult parts of being religious, because since he has three answers for each question of how to act, he can just pick the one he likes (defaulting to Hinduism).
I’d have a hard time recommending this book. Clearly I’m missing something, because the reviews of it seem to think its fantastic. I think it’s over-written, has a weak lead, and takes the cheap way out on questions of faith (“It’s all good!”).