Life of Pi

by: Yann Martel

The Author Quotes

Quotes The Author Quotes
The book was born as I was hungry.

Spoken by the author, these words open the novel, and while they could merely reflect a writer who longs to find a good story to tell, they also hint that the author may have taken liberties in telling Pi’s story. The author states his belief that writers may transform reality to create compelling fiction. Given the unique circumstances of Pi’s experience on the lifeboat, the author could easily have modified the factual elements to craft a more layered, thought-provoking novel.

I have just spent most of an afternoon with him. Our encounters always leave me weary of the glum contentment that characterizes my life.

Here, in the midst of his series of interviews with Pi, the author compares his life to Pi’s unfavorably. Even though the author knows the most gruesome details of Pi’s life, he still finds his own existence wanting. Having not been upended by something as dramatic as a ship’s sinking, his life lacks the highs and lows found in Pi’s. The author’s words reveal that he considers living in an unremarkable, complacent state to be unsatisfactory.

I start noticing small signs of conjugal existence. They were there all along, but I hadn’t seen them because I wasn’t looking for them.

The author feels initially surprised to learn that Pi has a wife because he hadn’t noticed any of the signs of a woman’s presence. But the author notes that he also wasn’t looking for them, perhaps because a part of him may have been harboring the idea that Pi became so damaged from his experience that normalcy evaded him after his ordeal ended. This admission also demonstrates two other characteristics of the author’s personality: He is unobservant but honest.

I’m in the entrance hall. “I didn’t know you had a son,” I say.

On the author’s last visit to Pi, the author learns that Pi has a son and a daughter. As with Pi’s wife, the author expresses surprise to learn Pi has children. Once again, the author only viewed Pi through the perspective of the ordeal at sea. The author remained so focused on that story that he missed anything going on in the present day around him.

This story has a happy ending.

This line, written by the author, serves two purposes: The words draw a comparison between Pi’s happy life in Canada with the unhappy end to his Indian family, and the line reminds the reader of the author’s beliefs about crafting fiction from reality. In an attempt to create a more compelling narrative, the author may have omitted, enhanced, or modified details of Pi’s story. Therefore, like Pi himself, the author is not wholly trustworthy.