Continuing the series of weekly Wednesday musings, the next book I want to highlight as having had a special impression on me is: Life of Pi
|Beautiful cover, if a tad inaccurate on nautical features|
Life if Pi won the 2004 Man Booker Prize, and that's why I knew about it. It was a time when I was becoming increasingly aware of the literary world; that papers reviewed books, that there were awards and interviews and 'big news' always being announced. It seemed a bit like a circus, looking in, but an exciting one, and I think back then I was pretty attracted to the idea that I could get swept up in it and be discovered.
Whatever false conceptions I had about all of that, I still loved this book. It was one of the first adult fiction books I read that wasn't a classic already, and therefore mandatory reading. I remember feeling almost hip with this snappy little blue book, with its awards and its accolades, and me reading it. It's a great book by itself, too - the story is far fetched and the claims that it would 'make you believe in God' were sheer media hype and good marketing, but the writing is amazing and the structure of the story is well researched, well thought out, and unpredictable. Maybe that last point was the best - I didn't know what would happen next but I wanted to know.
I bought Yann Martel's previous novel, Self, and then his collection of short stories, The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, and instantly wished I had a tragic, dying friend to do the same with. I read Self on holiday in the lake district, in a small cottage on the grounds of an ancient house, and loved it - it's a weird, first person narrative about nothing in particular, but it says a lot, and that's a skill. Now, thanks to my sister, I even own a signed hardback edition of the short stories - a fantastic thing to have!
So, I wouldn't be the writer I am today without this book. Buy it, read it, share your thoughts. I wouldn't bother with Martel's latest, unfortunately - maybe his next novel will see him back on form.