Best 2001 Adventures (3)
December 10, 2020
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 2001 adventure novels.
Yann Martel’s philosophical adventure Life of Pi.
Piscine “Pi” Patel, a middle-aged Indian immigrant to Canada, narrates the story of how he and his family left India in 1976, traveling on a freighter along with animals from their zoo. When the ship sinks in a storm, the 16-year-old Pi escapes in a lifeboat — which is also occupied by a spotted hyena, an injured Grant’s zebra, and an orangutan named Orange Juice. To Pi’s distress, the hyena kills the other two animals… at which point Richard Parker, the family’s beloved tiger, emerges from hiding and kills the hyena. During a voyage of over 200 days, Pi — who grow up to become a theologian — asserts his dominance over the tiger, who saves his life more than once. In the book’s third section, officials investigating the shipwreck question Pi’s account of his ordeal… at which point he offers a different version of the events, leaving us to wonder which one is true. A bit too didactic, at times, perhaps, but a mesmerizing tale.
Fun facts: Winner of the Booker Prize, Life of Pi was a bestseller. It was adapted as a 2012 feature film starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Tabu, Adil Hussain, and Gérard Depardieu. Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST HADRON AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.