The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

This is by far the best book I have read in years. The opening drew me in immediately. Despite a lot of zoology exposition, it clips along well and I found it fascinating (but then, I find animal behavior fascinating). Martel writes about zoology and zookeeping with authority. Later you realize how important all this discussion is, as it explains how Pi managed to survive with Richard Parker.

There are a lot of religious overtones in the beginning but as this is a part of the character, I didn't mind it. It also makes the point that the three religions he followed are more alike than different, so why can't he follow all three? However, I did find it hard to believe that he stuck with his faith after all that happened to him. I suppose everyone who is about to die finds religion.

When the story gets going, it is riveting. The suspense is excellent and the prose is top notch. I had a hard time putting this book down and found excuses to catch snatches of it. The ending is satisfying with a touch of mystery, and makes another point about doubts and what people prefer to believe. Highly, highly recommended.

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