RaveThe NationAlthough its themes are serious and there are moments of awful graphic violence and bleak despair, it is above all a book about life’s absurdities that makes one laugh out loud on almost every page, with its quirky juxtapositions, comparisons, metaphors, Borgesian puzzles, postmodern games and a sense of fun that reflects the hero’s sensual enjoyment of the world … Martel is also interested in the faith of his readers. He wants them to believe his story. He has his narrator pose a larger, Keatsian ‘beauty is truth’ argument against the glorification of reason, ‘that fool’s gold for the bright.’ It’s as if he were suggesting that storytelling is a kind of religious experience because it helps us understand the world in a more profound way than a just-the-facts approach … Though one can read Life of Pi just for fun, trying to figure out Pi’s relationship to God makes one feel a bit like the castaway hero wrestling slippery fish into his lifeboat for dinner. An idea twists and turns, glittering and gleaming, slaps you in the face with its tail and slips away. Did the story really happen?