life of pi, ongoing and illustrated

My obsession with Yann Martel’s Life of Pi predates this blog. I bought the book in 2002 when it came out based entirely on a glowing review in the local paper, and on the premise — indian boy survives six months shipwrecked in a small boat with a bengal tiger. How could a novelist possibly make THAT work? I had to find out.

It turns out the novelist really does make it work and the book is AMAZING. As I described it to others at the time: the first half of the book had me thinking oh, nice book, well written, kind of slow. And then the second half was: great book, fabulous tale, fast-paced, can’t put it down. And then last five pages had me lying awake in bed the whole night afterward thinking HOLY SHIT. And then I got up and started the book all over again from page 1.

I would not shut up about the book. I forced it on everyone I knew. I pressed it on strangers in bookstores. I sought out interviews with the author and essays on the Meaning of the book and the various metaphors and allegories. I discussed it in online forums. I was obsessed.

It’s a good book. Have you read it? You must read it. Go read it right now, I insist.

I bring this up because there’s been a worldwide search recently to illustrate a new edition of Life of Pi. The Times Online posted details about the search and its judges as well as a slideshow of the shortlisted entries. I like this one by Jonathan Gross. Nice use of whitespace.