Sunday, March 15, 2009

life of pi

Why you should read this book:

"Or rather, since Christians are so fond of capital letters, a Story."

"[Christianity] is a religion as swift as a swallow, as urgent as an ambulance."

"Things didn't turn out the way they were supposed to, but what can you do? You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it."

"For the first time I noticed--as I would notice repeatedly during my ordeal, between one throe of agony and the next--that my suffering was taking place in a grand setting. I saw my suffering for what it was, finite and insignificant, and I was still. My suffering did not fit anywhere, I realized. And I could accept this. It was all right. (It was daylight that brought my protest: "No! No! No! My suffering does matter. I want to live! I can't help but mix my life with that of the universe. Life is a peephole, a single tiny entry onto a vastness..."

"Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love--but sometimes it was so hard to love."

"Love is hard to belive, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer."

"I applied my reason at every moment. Reason is excellent for getting food, clothing and shelter. Reason is the very best tool kit. Nothing beats reason for keeping tigers away. But be excessively reasonable and you risk throwing out the universe with the bathwater."

"'The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn't that make life a story?'"

"'I know what you want. You want a story that won't surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won't make you see higher or further or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story. You want dry, yeastless factuality."

This book--Life of Pi (Yann Martel)--is incredible and beautiful, and Pi is an absolute wonder of a boy, and I can't do it any justice at all so I'll just say that. And without giving anything away, I will say this: of Pi's stories, I disagree with him. Whether or not they are true and which of them is is desperately, urgently important, maybe the most important thing of all.

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