It was with this thought in mind, that given the hype, given the eleven Academy Award nominations, I downloaded Yann Martel’sLife of Pi onto my Kindle and finished reading it earlier this week. Not knowing anything about the book in advance, I could tell from the coming attractions in the cinema that the book had something to do with a shipwrecked boy and a tiger. What I didn’t understand until after reading Life of Pi was that it is a story about faith and frustration, hope and heartbreak, a story about belief and disbelief in God, all at the same time.
Life of Pi asks a question which relates directly to this week’s parashah – namely, After all that we have seen, heard, and experienced in life, do we still have the audacity to believe? At the conclusion of the story, when Pi is convalescing in Mexico he is visited by Mr Chiba and Mr Okamato who find Pi’s account of his survival with the tiger preposterous. Pi says, “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.”