The Life of Pi by Yann Martel (book review)

16/05/2014 § Leave a comment

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Piscine “Pi” Patel, the Indian son of a zoo-keeper, recounts a memoir that amounts to much more than floating across the Pacific with only a lifeboat and a cantankerous Bengal tiger. Drifting through the Life of Pi is a meditative, theological experience. Delicate storytelling brings waves of comedic happenstance as well as shocking revelations, which can be difficult to read. Martel successfully strikes a balance between adventure and allegory with a shrewd blend of fact, fiction and a few things in-between. Its messages are sufficiently refined and ambiguous to render the story an uplifting one for atheists and believers alike.

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The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Book Review)

11/06/2012 § Leave a comment

Lily, a fourteen year old living in 1960’s South Carolina, flees her abusive father and her cantankerous housekeeper’s racists attackers to search for answers about her mother’s tragic death. Led by an abstruse clue to a harem of black bee keeping sisters, Lily is transformed by their sacred world of honey, heart and home. Although at times implausibly cerebral, Lily’s narration is mesmerising; artfully rendering the intricacies of those she describes. A seductive new religion, bigotry, mental illness and grief are carefully balanced ingredients that yield a deliciously sweet read reminiscent of, if not quite equal to, Harper Lee.

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman (Book Review)

15/07/2011 § Leave a comment

Pullman, in this self-proclaimed ‘story’, skews biblical events by providing Jesus with a familial antithesis, a twin brother; ineffectual to the plot in all but assuming an act of a pre-existing canonical ‘scoundrel’. This is a whistle-stop tour of the life of the Christian saviour that fails to deliver the controversy its title implies. Misgivings about organised religion, whispered with subtlety in His Dark Materials, are shouted brashly via the implausible and bias hindsight of Jesus. Biblical diction is used inconsistently, and paraphrasing of famous quotations diminishes their impact. Further, supposed insights into the development of stories are simplistic and unoriginal.

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